What are microplastics? Understanding microplastics

June 1st, 2021
Reading time: 2 minutes

The Brightmark editorial team focuses on providing insightful and valuable information to impact the planet positively and create a world without waste. Learn more about our methodology here.

According to @natgeo, the ocean has 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris. They report that 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.

One of the ocean’s most significant contributors to microplastics comes from synthetic textiles. The release of microplastics from synthetic clothing happens during the washing process. The washing machine causes stress on the fabric, and it releases microplastics. Choosing natural fibers like cotton, linen, and hemp when buying new clothes can help reduce the number of microplastics with each wash.

Microplastic refers to plastic particles that measure less than 5mm (0.2in). There are two basic kinds; primary and secondary.



Primary microplastics are plastic fragments or particles already 5mm in size or less before entering the environment.



• Microbeads in shower gel
• Plastic fibers in synthetic textiles

Secondary microplastics form from the breakdown of larger plastic items. This typically happens when larger plastics undergo weathering through exposure to wind, waves, or other environmental factors.




• Shedding of turf
• Tires on the road


About Make Your Mark

We’re on a mission to Reimagine Waste. We create circular solutions that solve some of the world’s most pressing waste challenges. Our Make Your Mark page is designed to educate and inform those who seek to get involved by reducing consumption or recycling materials properly. We envision a world without waste, and this is our way of bringing you along.

At Brightmark, we respect your right to privacy and value our relationship with you as a user.

Like most companies today, we use cookies to enhance your user experience and better understand the goals and aspirations of our visitors. To understand our Privacy Policy and use of cookies better, you can visit our Privacy Policy page here.