Microplastics – The Truth
There’s plastic in your drinking water, but how did it get there? This blog is a simplified guide to what microplastics are and why they are a problem.
Firstly what are microplastics?
To be put simply, they are pieces of plastic that are less than 5mm / half a centimetre in size.
Where do they come from?
Unfortunately, there is more than one source that pollutes and creates microplastics. One culprit is litter, the rubbish is blown into the ocean by strong wind gusts. A combination of the oceans swells and the UV rays from the sun cause pieces of plastic to break away and eventually get smaller and smaller. Another source is from tyres. As cars drive along the road, the bitumen grinds the tyres which cause shards of the tyre to breakaway. A surprising contributor of microplastics can be found in personal care products such as kinds of toothpaste with micro-beads or face exfoliants with micro-beads.
How do they make it into the water systems?
Rubbish & Tyres: Carried through the air from wind or pushed into stormwater drains from rainfall.
Personal Care Products: Products that contain the microbeads are washed down household drains. Now all household water is treated post household use. However, since the particles are so small, the treatment facilities are not able to filter them out and thus being flushed straight into water bodies.
Here is a great diagram explaining how microplastics make it into our ecosystem.
How are we ingesting microplastics?
We’ll here is a bit of bad news- you’re ingesting microplastic in everything you eat and drink. Oh, and did we forget breathing?? You’re literally breathing in microplastics as you read this ( well maybe not ). As upsetting as it is scientists predict that plastic will outweigh fish in our oceans, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the fish eat the micro-plastic and we eat the fish. So what does this mean for our health?
Does this affect human health?
In short – possibly. We just don’t know. One side of the coin, microplastics come into our bodies from one end and leave out of the other. The flip side of that coin is our body absorbs cancer-causing chemicals, and we’re all doomed. As is it stands right now in June of 2020, the world health Organisation has found that there is no evidence of health concerns from microplastics in drinking water. You can read that article here. Further studies are required to determine the health consequences.
What can we do?
There are a couple of things we can do to help reduce microplastics pollution. Firstly investigate into your local government waste/stormwater treatment process and ask what is being done about the filtration and their management systems of microplastics. Secondly is recycle more. Currently, it is deemed that Australia only recycles 9% of total plastic produced. Lastly, it is vital to support the businesses that are using recycled products, like SevenC’s swim shorts. The more people support a business like ours lowers the costs of materials which can transpire into savings for you.
10 Tips for an Eco-Holiday
The thought of an upcoming holiday is usually what makes going to work a lot less painful. But if you feel like there is more than one cost (other than that one to your bank account) – I feel you, that environment cost. Three quarters of the year, we’re an eco-warrior. You know, smirk of judgment you give to the person who didn’t bring their keep cup to your local coffee shop or the co-worker who keeps “forgetting” their reusable water bottle. It seems like we all love the environment until we jet away. We use enough plastic bottles to fill our very own pacific garbage patch and not to mention the carbon footprint of your flight. Still, it’s kinda hard to feel guilty when you’re watching the sunset over a tropical beach with your third mojito in hand. So to try and combat that post-holiday environmental regrets, so we have come up with our top ten tips of how to have a more eco holiday:
1- Swap out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush ( if you are organized and have your old plastic toothbrush, please reuse and not go out of your way to buy a bamboo one!) We recommend – Fauna & Flora .
2- Remember those plastic bottles you’re going to use? Well, let’s offset some of those by buying sustainable swim shorts which are made out of recycled plastic bottles. We, of course, recommend our SevenC’s eco-friendly shorts. They are comfortable, quick-drying and will make you look and feel like that eco warrior you talk about 👅 buy here – sevencs.co/swimwear.
3- While on the topic of water bottles… take a reusable plastic bottle. We would recommend a litre bottle. Now please google ahead if the water is safe to drink. Nothing worse than spending more time on the toilet than out exploring! We recommend – Shop Naturally.
4- There aren’t many better feelings than having a Cotton earbud stimulating your ear canal. Since they are made out of plastic, they would take thousands of years to breakdown ( unless they end up a turtles nose). A couple of seconds of pure bliss is followed up by thousands of years breaking down on the earth. But fear not there’s a reusable alternative found here – EBAY.
5 – Take your own bags – An easy one! No plastic bags for you – AMAZON.
6- Ditch the single-use cotton wipes – Replace cotton wipes with Fauna & Flora
7 – This is one you don’t have to pack in your suitcase… Simply switch off your appliances. Now don’t get trigger happy and go around turning off the fridge or security cameras because well your holiday blues are going to be 100 times worse coming home to the smell of rotting food.
8 – Imagine landing in your holiday destination and being taken straight into customs and being charged for drug smuggling… kinda dramatic but never say never #justinbeiber. But instead of plastic wrapping your suitcase, you can now buy reusable suitcase covers – JETBLACK.
9 – Look for hotels and other accommodation with effective waste treatment systems, that recycle, that are energy efficient, and, where possible, that use environmentally friendly energy sources such as solar energy or hydroelectric power – Don’t be throwing that towel that you’ve only used once on the floor to be washed.
10- To be a true eco-hero you can go beyond this list and buy carbon offsets, to offset your flight carbon footprint. To Learn about carbon offsets check in to our blog next week – Learn more.
The list is created to be an attainable, sustainable change. It is a behavioural change which may seem strange at the start but will soon become a habit and will feel natural.
Have any other easy holiday sustainability tips? We would love you to comment them below. 👇
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We have worked tirelessly researching, sourcing and designing our new range of shorts. This collection merges my two passions, the environment and fashion. It was not an easy task to introduce the products at a price point that justifiable. We strive to become Australias first sustainable fashion line that is affordable for all.
2019 marks the start of making SevenC’s environmentally conscious. We are have introduced shorts that utilise recycled plastic bottles and turn them into fabric. We are absolutely sure you will love them. They are soft, quick-drying, hardwearing and exceptional in and out of the water.
New to 2019 is our packaging. All products are now shipped in 100% compostable packages. There is not one gram of non-biodegradable material.
With your support, we donate 2.5% of the sale price to the Australian Marine Conservation Society. 2% of the profit is used to purchase carbon offsets in order to strive to become carbon neutral.
The shorts have paved the way for us to introduce sustainability into our business plan while keeping costs down. I thank you for supporting an Australian Owned business that is paving the way for sustainability in the fashion industry.