29 Jul 2015

Microplastics to Sea

From New Zealand Society, 3:35 pm on 29 July 2015

Sea creatures and exfoliants

Salt, sugar, coconut husks, oatmeal, coffee grounds, apricot kernals – all things that can be used for exfoliating the skin. But increasingly, companies are using microplastics or microbeads. And it's surprising what products they turn up in.

Amelia Nurse talks to Sally Gaw, environmental chemist at the University of Canterbury to find out how what we wash our faces with could end up on our dinner plate.

Links

Major types of plastics

POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE (PET OR PETE) - 1

Commonly recycled

Used in: soft drink bottles, water bottles, cooking oil bottles, peanut butter jars

HIGH DENSITY POLYETHYLENE (HDPE) - 2

Commonly recycled

Used in: detergent bottles, yoghurt containers, milk bottles, bottle caps, hard hats

POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC) - 3

Sometimes recycled

Used in: plastic pipes, plastic food wrap, outdoor furniture, flooring, credit cards

LOW DENSITY POLYETHYLENE (LDPE) - 4

Sometimes recycled

Used in: grocery bags, dry cleaning bags, produce bags, rubbish bags, bubble wrap

POLYPROPYLENE (PP) - 5

Occasionally recycled

Used in: bottle caps, food containers, drinking straws, clothes, biscuit wrappers, plant pots

POLYSTYRENE (PS) - 6

Occasionally recycled

Used in: styrofoam cups, plastic tableware, meat trays, takeaway containers