Microbead face washes were great for your face, but not so good for the earth. Today, plastic pollution, like climate change, is part of everyday conversation. Plastic is ubiquitous, and the harm to marine animals, wildlife, and humans is well documented. A growing area of research focuses on microplastics, plastics with diameters smaller than 5 mm. Between 1970 and 1980, fewer than 100 published papers even mentioned microplastics. Compare that to the more than 5,000 articles published in 2020 alone. Microplastics are formed when larger pieces of plastics break apart during physical and chemical weathering processes. Plastic designed to be small, like nurdles (i.e., resin pellets that are melted to make plastic products) and microbeads (i.e, tiny rounded plastic beads that are used in cosmetics) are also microplastics.
Natural Resources & Environment
Natural Resource & Environment (NR&E) is the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources' quarterly magazine of practical, informative articles for practitioners. Section members receive NR&E as a member benefit and they can view past issues archived online.