What Are Microplastics, and Why Should We Care?

If you've been following the news lately, you've probably come across the term "microplastics." But what exactly are they, where do they come from, and why should we be concerned? Let's dive into this topic together and explore the personal side of microplastics.

Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that measure less than 5 millimetres in length. They can be found in various products, such as cosmetics, exfoliating scrubs, and toothpaste. These pesky particles also result from the breakdown of larger plastic items due to weathering and exposure to sunlight. Unfortunately, this means that our oceans, personal care products, and even our food are teeming with microplastics.

At Klean Kanteen, we've partnered with the incredible organisation 5 Gyres since 2012. We've joined their dedicated crews on multiple expeditions, taking action alongside activists, scientists, and fellow ocean enthusiasts to collect plastic, advocate for stronger legislation, inspire young minds, and raise awareness about the devastating impact of plastic in our waterways.

Klean Kanteen owner Jeff Cresswell with 5 Gyres team


So, why are microplastics a problem?

Firstly, microplastics contaminate our waterways. Due to their small size, they can easily make their way through drainage systems and end up in our lakes, rivers, and oceans. Once there, they not only pollute the water but also harm marine life. Research has shown that microplastics absorb toxic substances like pesticides and industrial chemicals. When marine animals ingest these particles, they unknowingly consume these toxins, endangering their health and ultimately threatening the entire food chain—yes, including us humans.

Furthermore, microplastics have a detrimental impact on wildlife. It's not just our aquatic friends who suffer; land-dwelling animals are affected too. Birds, for example, often mistake microplastics for food and feed them to their chicks. This can lead to malnourishment or even starvation. Given that plastic takes centuries to break down, the problem intensifies with each passing year. We produce and dispose of millions of tons of plastic, and unfortunately, much of it ends up in the environment.

To make matters worse, cleaning up microplastics is an enormous challenge. Once these tiny particles enter the environment, they can be carried great distances by wind and water currents. As a result, tackling microplastic pollution requires a global effort and a commitment to systemic change.

But fear not! There are steps you can take to avoid contributing to the microplastic problem. Start by being mindful of the products you purchase. Look for items labeled "microbead-free" or "biodegradable" (just remember to double-check the actual biodegradability claims). Opt for products that come in recyclable packaging. And when you're finished using a product, recycle it responsibly to ensure it doesn't end up polluting our planet.


However, it's not just about avoiding microplastics; it's also about preventing their creation in the first place. By making a conscious choice to reduce your reliance on single-use plastics, you're already making a significant impact. Consider swapping out your disposable beverage bottles and food containers for durable alternatives that will stand the test of time.

That's where Klean Kanteen comes in. Our bottles are made from certified 90% post-consumer recycled 18/8 stainless steel, meaning each purchase contributes to a sustainable future. By choosing a Klean Kanteen bottle, you're not only investing in a long-lasting product but also actively reducing your reliance on single-use plastics that harm our environment.


Together, let's make a difference—one sip at a time. Join us in the fight against microplastics and embrace a sustainable lifestyle that prioritises the health of our planet and future generations.