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Updated by emmaapeterman on Nov 03, 2019
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The 5 Types of Microplastics

Microplastics originate from different sources and come in a large variation of shapes. Listed below are the five most common types of microplastics!




Microplastic fibres originate from a number of sources, including clothing, diapers, and even cigarette butts. Fibres released by clothing are often not filtered out during wastewater treatment and enter natural waterways. Fibres also commonly enter water through washing machines.


Microbeads are most often used in personal care products, like toothpaste and facial cleansers. Microbeads are not filtered out during waste treatment because of their extremely small size. In 2015, President Barrack Obama banned the use of microbeads in personal care products in the United States.


Fragments are created from the breakdown of larger plastic pieces. Once broken off, fragments continue to be deteriorated by UV rays. Most plastic pollution eventually becomes fragments.


Nurdles are small plastic pellets that are used in the manufacturing of plastic products. Nurdles most commonly enter water sources during transportation where they are spilled out of their containers overboard.




Foam refers to Styrofoam, which never breaks down. In addition, foam also leaches chemicals.