Article | June 7, 2023

Does Grinding Create Microplastics?

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Microplastics are a growing threat to global water sources. The World Health Organization estimates that freshwater sources can have up to 1,000 particles of microplastics per liter. Unlike traditional contaminants like phosphorous or even per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS), microplastics have variable size, composition, density, and more. This makes testing for the presence of microplastics, let alone filtering them out, incredibly complex.

In the quest to mitigate the amount of microplastics in the wastewater effluent, some industry professionals have concluded that they must eliminate the use of grinders. The thought process is that as plastic solid waste enters the grinder, it is chopped into microplastics, thus contributing to the problem. However, this thinking is wrong for a range of reasons. The first is that it misunderstands how a grinder works. The second is that it fails to account for the primary sources of microplastics in global water sources.

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