polyethylene

5 things you didn’t know about…microbeads

Credit: Zach Dischner/WikimediaCommons

1. Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic that are added to everyday cosmetic products including face wash, toothpaste and abrasive cleaners.

2. They are usually less than 1mm in size and most frequently made of polyethylene but also other petrochemical plastics, such as polypropylene and polystyrene.

3. In 2014, more than 663 different species were negatively impacted by marine debris with approximately 11% of reported cases specifically related to the ingestion of microplastics.

4. Since 1972, they have made their way into more than 100 personal care products sold by companies such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and L'Oréal.

5. From July 2017, the USA will ban the production of personal care products and cosmetics containing plastic microbeads, aimed at protecting the oceans.

For more on microbeads and the effects of microplastic pollution, read our upcoming news story coming up in our June issue.

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What are polymers? 

This video is a great introduction to polymers. We use both natural and synthetic polymers in our everyday lives and they are particularly useful in regenerative medicine and healthcare engineering! (Suggested watching from Floor Ruiter).

Video taken from YouTube: Polymers - Crash Course #45

BANGLADESH, Dhaka : A Bangladeshi youth sorts through polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles for recycling in poor working conditions in Dhaka on August 21, 3013. PET bottle flakes are an exportable raw material from Bangladesh. The recycled material is used toproduce PSF (Polyester staple fiber) which are then made into PSY (polyester spun yarn) or used as stuffing materials. AFP PHOTO / Munir uz ZAMAN

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Song of the Day: 

“Polyethylene (Parts 1 and 2)" 

Radiohead 

Airbag/How Am I Driving? (EP)