The Myopia of Microplastics
Put simply, plastic is killing our environment. Plastic beads, sequins and glitter, all considered “microplastics” — plastics 5 millimeters and smaller — that are used in plush toys, are devastating our environment by polluting our oceans and causing suffocation, starvation and the drowning of marine life.
In our industry examples of these microplastics are “beads, beans or pellets”, sequins and glitter, and for many manufacturers these materials, are primary components of plush as well as other toys. And while companies use these materials to try to improve the attraction of their products, the damage these microplastics cause to our environment, regardless if they are made with recycled materials, is undeniable.
Scientists estimate 8 trillion microbeads in the U.S. alone are making their way into our waterways — daily. Add to that a variety of other types of plastics, including sequins, beads and glitter that are not captured in the recycling process because they are too small, and you have an environmental crisis that continues to grow exponentially.
In an article published by National Geographic there is an effort for a global ban on glitter alone.
“All glitter should be banned because it’s microplastic and all microplastics leak into the environment,” according to Trisia Farrelly, an environmental anthropologist at Massey University in New Zealand. The article goes on to explain that “glitter gets washed down the drain or slips by recycling machines due to its small size, and becomes a microplastic that is consumed by plankton, fish, shellfish, seabirds and other marine life. Plastic bits collect in birds’ stomachs, leading them to die of starvation.” And this is only glitter — one type of microplastic.
There are countless other studies done on the effects of microplastics in the world’s oceans and waterways, including an article from Scientific American on how microplastics are finding their way into our diets based on the foods that we eat.
Our Pledge Against Plastics
True to an authentic eco-friendly claim, Wildlife Artists, Inc. will never use sequins or glitter given the horrific damage these microplastics wreak on wildlife. With the elimination of plastic pellets long ago, the introduction of our Eco Pals™ line, the transition to 100% recycled fiber fill in all our plush, and our pledge against sequins and glitter, Wildlife Artists has become the industry’s plastic conscious plush manufacturer and we will continue to lead as such.
Because this is us. This is who we are.
Our eyes are wide open to the microplastic epidemic that is unfolding, and we do not want our plush to be a part of the problem. With many of our customers being wildlife organizations, we want to offer a plastic conscious plush alternative that is comparable in price and size to the environmentally damaging product in the market place to ensure our products support their missions and vision of their stores.
For more information on the how plastic is harming our environment, please see the below articles: