Plastics and microplastics are present  in the environment on a large scale, but their risks to humans and the ecosystem are largely unknown.

Plastics are durable, inexpensive and have endless applications. They are everywhere in the world. But what are plastics, exactly, and what are microplastics? And how do they affect the environment and our health?

Plastics are durable, inexpensive and have many applications. Plastics let us store food longer, for example, and have a wide range of medical applications, such as hip replacements. These many benefits has led to a surge in the use of plastics since the 1950s. But plastics also have drawbacks. One is their degradation into microplastics. These drawbacks are forcing us to rethink how we use these valuable materials, with the aim to reduce the burden on the environment.