Did you know we consume about a credit card's worth of plastic each WEEK? 😧😧😧
Yes, that's what studies suggest! Why?
Plastics are literally EVERYWHERE:
👕 The clothes we wear (for example, polyester is a plastic)
⚽ The toys our kids play with
🍴The packaging for our food and drink
Just to name a few! Look around you right now - we bet you can quickly count multiple plastic items.
So what's the big deal?
When discarded, plastics do NOT biodegrade. Instead, they break down into small particles called microplastics.
Microplastics - you may have heard this term, but aren’t totally sure what the deal is.
Plastics have become an indispensable part of modern day life, used in clothing, furniture, beauty products, food containers, packaging, transportation, construction, and many more ways. It’s usefulness comes from its durability, but that’s also its worst flaw - it breaks down easily, into particles called microplastics. But worse, It’s estimated that it takes 1,000 years for plastics to disintegrate, so when they are our environment they are here to stay for a while. They then end up end our oceans.
What are they? Microplastics are exactly as they sound - tiny pieces of plastic, smaller than 5mm - which is about the size of a sesame seed.
Where do they come from? Microplastics come from a variety of sources, but there are 3 major ways they get into the ocean:
Trash - Sadly, lots of litter from our cities often ends up in the rivers and eventually the ocean. Many of this trash is larger plastic materials, such as plastic bags and bottles, furniture, toys, phones, and even clothing made with synthetic (plastic) fibers, which break down into microplastics.
Down the drain - In the last 50 years, microplastics have become extremely common in beauty products - for example, microbeads added as exfoliant in skin care products and even toothpaste, instead of a more natural option. If you see polyethylene on the ingredient label, it’s got microplastic. These particles are so small, they easily pass through water filtration systems including wastewater plants and get pushed out into the ocean, at an alarming rate.
Industrial waste - When products containing plastic are either not disposed of correctly, or escape during production or transport, they can often end up in rivers oceans.
What’s the problem?
Many microplastics end up in our oceans - an estimated 5 and 14 million tons a year, to be exact. These microplastics get consumed by marine life, which is harmful to them - it’s been shown to cause digestive system blockage and alter feeding behavior - sometimes these poor sea critters can end up with a belly full of plastic and starve to death. Further, it’s been shown to stunt growth and reproduction, and even cause brain damage in fish.
In addition to being terrible for sea life, these microplastics in turn get consumed by humans who are higher up the food chain. Microplastics have been found in 114 aquatic species, and over half of those end up as our seafood dinners.
So, WHY would I want to avoid consuming microplastics?
Other than the obvious reason - um, ewww... The REAL scary thing is that we don’t really know the affects that this can have on humans. Initial research suggests that microplastics can pass the blood-brain barrier, and even pass through the placenta to a developing fetus. The chemicals that compose plastics have been shown to be endocrine disruptors and even carcinogens.☠
Ok, HOW do I avoid consuming microplastics?
It's not really possible to entirely avoid it, unfortunately... But here are a couple things you can do to cut back.
Avoid drinking out of plastic water bottles - use a refillable one instead! It's better for the environment and your wallet, too!
Limit consumption of shellfish. Because you eat the entire shellfish animal, you're eating everything in its stomach (which usually contains plastic!).
Vacuum regularly. Plastic particles are likely floating around your home - vacuum often and consider getting an air purifer.
Be selective with your salt. Yes, sea salt almost always contains microplastics - so you could be sprinkling plastic on your dinner!
We can help you with #3 - we were SO excited to discover Only Salt - which is just that, only salt! It comes from protected mountain spring water, which means it is toxin- and microplastic free (woo hoo! 🎉).
It's also SO much better for you - and more nutrient-dense - than regular 'ole table salt! Read more here about why not all salt is created equal.
Get excited, because Only Salt is coming in your March CLEAN.FIT box! We promise you'll never look at salt the same way again.