What are microplastics and what can we do about them?

Microplastics are plastic particles smaller than 5 mm (the size of a popcorn kernel). Plastic trash never goes away, it just breaks up into smaller pieces.

When wildlife eats microplastics, these tiny plastic bits can block and damage organs and leach potentially harmful chemicals. Microplastics and chemicals can transfer up the food chain.

What can you do to help?

1 – Support comprehensive state and local policies that phase out single-use plastics and packaging.

San Francisco and other cities are working to reduce single-use plastics such as cups and to-go containers. Berkeley’s disposable-free dining ordinance is a model for other communities.

California’s Circular Economy Bill proposes to reduce waste from single-use packaging and products by 75% by 2030.

The science behind this recommendation: Microplastics are present in every part of the Bay, including water, fish, and sediment. The Bay contains especially high levels of microplastics. Levels in Bay surface waters are some of the highest recorded globally. Computer modeling indicates that buoyant particles can flow to the ocean, while heavier particles concentrate in Bay sediment.