The Microplastics Footprint is the amount of primary and virtual microplastics that is introduced into the environment by a product. This includes all steps of the product life cycle and all components of the product ("beyond LCA" process analysis).
The Microplastics Footprint of a product includes the microplastic inputs into the environment from production, processing, packaging, transportation, use, and disposal. It is the sum of virtual microplastics and primary microplastics.
Secondary microplastics, which may be generated by decomposition and decay due to improper disposal in the environment, are not considered.
The Microplastics Footprint can be determined for individual products as well as for companies.
Why the Microplastics Footprint is an important parameter
As the United Nations proposes, water is the main medium through which we will feel the effects of climate change. So we need to ensure that water protection is an essential part of the global strategy on climate change.
With the Microplastics Footprint, we are closing the gaps between industries and society and creating transparency and a lever for the self-commitment of the main polluters.
By preventing the entry of microplastics and other micropollutants into our water and our environment, we use the greatest possible leverage when it comes to consistent water-related climate and environmental protection.
The approach of microplastic-free production not only provides concrete evidence of the influence of pollutants on life on our planet. We also provide solutions to minimize the harmful impact. By linking ACTUAL and TARGET, we create the ability to act where it makes the most sense, at the hotspots.
Quick fact check: "microplastic-free"
Even products labeled "microplastics-free" in the vast majority of cases have a Microplastics Footprint. For example, a scrub itself may be free of primary microplastics, but the use of plastics in its production and packaging creates virtual microplastics.
It can be assumed that every product, even if it does not contain microplastics at first glance, has a Microplastics Footprint.