Microbeads

Microbeads are extremely small pieces of plastic, ranging from 1 nanometre up to 5 mm. Microbeads are often used as exfoliating agents in cleansing products, such as tooth pastes and face washes and are used because they are a much cheaper alternative than natural materials. However, these microbeads easily wash down the drain and are too small to be caught by filters in wastewater treatment plants – meaning they have a direct pathway to our waterways. When in the water, plastics in microbeads will absorb pollutants like pesticides, metals or chemicals. These toxic-laden small pieces of plastic can be eaten by plankton and make their way up the food chain. Many states and countries have already banned microbeads, though it will take a few years to completely phase out. Microbeads are a primary form of microplastics (see definition for microplastics)