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We’re working with businesses to explore solutions to microplastics pollution

What are microplastics?

Microplastics are usually categorised as particles of plastic below 5mm in diameter. There is currently no definitive research on the volume of microplastics entering the environment. We need to act now to significantly reduce the flow of microplastic pollution.

Our 2019 report, Microplastics: How should business respond?, identifies five sources of microplastic pollution where we are focusing our efforts. 

Artificial pitches

Between 1 and 5 tonnes of artificial pitch 'infill' is lost per pitch every year - with an estimated 1,000 pitches in the UK by 2020.

Clothing fibres

Clothing fibres are often so small that waste water treatment plants cannot capture them, with large numbers released into waterways.

Plastic pellets

The raw material that many plastic items are made from, plastic pellets have been a known plastic pollution source in the aquatic environment for over 25 years.

Tyre abrasion

The sheer volume of particles from tyre treads thought to be entering the environment is a cause for concern, and their effects on the environment is a subject of ongoing research.


Macroplastic items from littering and poorly managed household plastic waste in the UK frequently end up in surface waters, where they will break down to form microplastics.

Microplastics report

"Earthwatch Europe believes that urgent action is needed on plastic pollution, and that this requires an evidence-based approach, developing a thorough understanding of the intended and unintended consequences of alternatives to plastics.

There are many improvements that can be implemented right away, but there are also considerable knowledge gaps that need to be understood and addressed to tackle the problem together, from source to sea."

Released in March 2019, our report Microplastics: How should business respond? provides an overview of the main risks to business posed by microplastics pollution.

Produced in partnership with sustainability consultants Eunomia, it provides concise recommendations for action, highlights areas for further research opportunities, and offers a simple assessment tool for each source identified.

Contact a member of our Partnerships Team (below) for your copy of the report.


Contact us

We are always interested to hear from potential collaborative partners - please contact a member of our Partnerships Team to request your copy of our report on microplastics and find out more about what Earthwatch can offer your business. 

Maria Pontes

Director of Programmes and Partnerships
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Ed Nemeshanyi

Corporate Development Manager
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Request a free copy of our Microplastics report.

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