What are microplastics?

Microplastics are tiny plastic fragments less than 5 millimeters in size, often invisible to the naked eye. They can originate from industrial processes or result from the breakdown of larger plastic items.

The environmental impact of microplastics is alarming. Since 1950, humans have produced over 9 billion metric tons of plastic, yet only 9% has been recycled. Approximately 12% has been incinerated, leaving the overwhelming majority—around 79%—to accumulate in landfills or disperse into the environment. Microplastics are now found everywhere, from the Arctic to Antarctica, highlighting the scale of the problem.

Where do microplastics come from?

Microplastics can originate from various sources, but the most common cause is the breakdown of larger plastic items like bottles, bags, and containers, as well as urban dust.

Another major source, often overlooked, is personal care products such as exfoliating scrubs and toothpaste, which contain plastic microbeads by design. Additionally, vehicle tires wear down as they move along roads, releasing tiny particles known as rubber microplastics.

What happens to microplastics that reach the seas and oceans?

Most plastic waste eventually finds its way to the seas, where it breaks down into microplastics. In fact, about 80% of marine debris originates from land. The IMO policies exist for the management of plastics and microplastics in the marine environment.

Once in the water, microplastic pollution means microplastics can be consumed by marine life, leading to bioaccumulation. They can also float on the surface or settle on the ocean floor. Interestingly, these tiny plastic fragments can even become trapped in ice.

How do microplastics affect humans?

The scientific community is still exploring the full extent of the impact of microplastics in humans, but there is research suggesting that microplastics pose risks. They can affect humans in several ways, primarily through the unnoticed consumption of contaminated food and drinking water.

Microplastics can release additives and toxic chemicals that are absorbed by the body when ingested, potentially harming the digestive system and causing hormonal disruptions. Microplastics have been found in a range of products, including fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and even beer.

Measures to reduce microplastics

Many countries are implementing policies to curb plastic use and address microplastic pollution. Reducing microplastics in the environment requires a collective effort, both at the personal and business levels.

Individually, we can make simple choices like reducing single-use plastics and choosing sustainable, eco-friendly products. Businesses must adopt sustainable production practices, find alternatives to products containing microplastics, and commit to manufacturing without microplastics — as we do at ECOALF.

As pioneers in sustainable fashion, we lead the fight against microplastic pollution. Our commitment to using high-quality recycled materials helps reduce reliance on virgin plastics. By creating durable garments from recycled marine waste, we offer stylish options while actively contributing to ocean cleanup and environmental protection. Our Wellness range is a collection of waste-free sustainable cosmetics that are packaged in recycled aluminum to mitigate the need for plastic completely.

At ECOALF, we demonstrate that sustainable fashion can be both ethical and responsible, inspiring others to join the movement against microplastics and choose sustainable fashion.

Join us in our mission to protect the planet and make a difference!