Full Frame Podcast: How big is the microplastics problem? | Jesse Meiller

Full Frame Podcasts

Today, the world is producing twice as much plastic waste as it was two decades ago. Plastics take anywhere from 20 to 500 years to decompose. According to the United Nations, only about 9 percent of plastic in the world is recycled.

Jesse Meiller is a marine ecologist and environmental toxicologist who studies microplastics, tiny bits of plastic that have been found everywhere, from the bottom of the ocean to inside human blood.

“Microplastics are made from almost everything that we use everyday that is plastic. …They’re ubiquitous because they’re being shed from so many different types of plastic,” said Meiller, a professor at Georgetown University’s Earth Commons Institute.

Meiller said single-use plastics are a big contributor to the plastic problem. From bags to water bottles, individuals can take action by eliminating single-use plastics in their lives.

“Our individual choices make a difference. We need to carry that forward though, and affect change at higher levels as well in order to have systemic change,” Meiller said.