What Is Plastic Soup?

March 01, 2018

If you’ve bothered to keep up with environmental news, you know that our oceans are facing incredible threats caused by human activities. We’re not talking about climate change here. We’re talking about plastic soup, and the effects of microplastics like glitter and microbeads on the ocean, the animals that live in it, and even on us. So, what is plastic soup?

Plastic Soup and Garbage Patches

Currently, there’s a massive garbage patch floating in the Pacific Ocean the size of Russia. While some of this is made of large pieces – ice chests, bottles, plastic bags and the like, but most of it is actually made of microplastics. These are tiny fragments of plastic that are virtually invisible to the eye. This “soup” of plastic is expected to double in size within the next 10 years.

The threat isn’t just to the Pacific, either. It’s in every ocean on the planet, and the threat is growing.

It’s Not the Big Stuff

While you’d think that the most serious threats to the oceans would be the large pieces of plastic floating around, that’s not the case. It’s the tiny bits that are causing the most problems. Plastic soup is comprised of very small pieces, less than a centimeter in size. Remember microbeads? Those are prime examples. Glitter is another (yes, glitter is made from plastic, and adds immeasurably to our global plastic pollution problem).

There are multiple issues with plastic soup, but one of the most concerning is that marine life cannot tell the difference between a tiny piece of plastic and tiny morsels of food. This affects everything from miniscule plankton to filter feeders like whales. When plastic is ingested by these animals, it is not digested. It stays behind, lodging in the animal’s tissues. There, it begins to leak toxins into the animal’s body, creating serious problems, particularly where reproduction is concerned (remember BPA and its endocrine disrupting issues?).

In a best-case scenario, affected animals have difficulty reproducing, and their offspring are often weak and slow to develop, sometimes dying well before maturity. In a worst-case scenario, the animals are virtually sterilized and unable to reproduce at all.

There’s another problem here – most animals in the ocean are prey for something else. What do you think happens to the plastic in the prey animal when it’s eaten by a predator? It just moves house and lodges in the tissues of its new host. There, the problems continue. This pattern repeats all the way up the food chain. In fact, there’s a very good chance that you have plastic in your body from eating seafood.

What Can You Do?

While there is no feasible means to clean up the ocean’s plastic soup, there is a way to reduce the influx of new plastics into the oceans. With new products like our biodegradable glitter, which is made from cellulose, not plastic, you can live your life like normal while doing something to benefit the entire planet.

Ready to learn more about’s bio glitter? Get in touch!

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