Categorisation by size

Ocean plastic is defined into three categories of size, these categories assist in the development of new tools that will aim to target specific categories of plastic pollution.

  • Macroplastic – Large plastic items above 5mm

  • Microplastic – Small plastics between 1-5mm

  • Nano plastics – Under 1mm in size

Plastic never breaks down it only breaks up

30% of plastic floats.
99% is intercepted by coastlines.
1% accumulates offshore.

Categorisation by source

Micro plastics can be further defined by their source. Primary micro and nano plastics are plastics that have been designed to be that size and shape.
These include:

  • Nurdles – pre-production pellets that are heated and moulded into every plastic item we see in the world

  • BAFF media – filtration media used in sewage treatment works. This media is expensive and as it’s plastic, doesn’t have to be replaced as often. Occasionally spills happen

  • Face-beads – exfoliating facial plastic, banned in some countries but not all

  • Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS) – most EPS originates from cheap body boards, but some comes from packaging. Very migrate-able

Secondary micro plastics are items that have broken up from larger macro plastics. You can tell the difference between the two types as secondary micro plastics are angular and sharp.

What this means for our oceans

The majority of floating microplastics build up at specific points along the coastline, where they cause devastating environmental damage.

Microplastics are extremely light debris, they float along the coastlines until they reach a beach, where they accumulate.

This is where we focus on cleaning them up.