Industrials plastic pellets in the marine environment


Industrials Plastics granules are small balls, cylinders or plastic pellets. They are produced and used in industry for making all our plastic objects. They can be recycled plastics or come directly from the processing of oil, gas or biomass.
Their size is under 10 mm and they are often confused with the sediments. They can be of any color. The colors are regularly observed the nuances of white translucent, grayish white, yellowish white, the amber and black.
The possible causes of dispersal in the environment are various :

• Leaks in the production:
During the "process", packaging, storing, cleaning. They join the networks of wastewater, stormwater networks or directly ditches and streams.

• Leaks in transportation:
Problems with loading, incident handling, containers drilled, or in road accidents.

Loss of containers or cargo at sea:
During the sinking or leaking containers.

• Losses to the transformation:
Same risk of leaks that during the production and processing incidents (waste)

• Losses to use:
Peening, filtering device, draining, cleaning, polishing, absorbing antipollution.

Uses inappropriate:
For horse tracks, for moving heavy loads, Déménagements, etc..)


Plastic granules sometimes become industrial waste before having been used. Losses can happen far upstream and follow the water cycle. They are found on the banks, in canals, rivers, docks and beaches (in the foreshore)
Plastic granules of lower density than water will float, drift and wash up. The floating pellets will fail and they remain trapped in the sediment, riprap, the macro and micro waste, plants, organic pollutants. This plastic pollution can be very localized and accumulates over hundreds of meters from shore but often on a small width (a few centimeters to several meters).

Many parameters affect accumulation of these marine debris: morphology and nature of the site, currents, tides, wave action, winds, weather, ...

Rivers are natural vectors of this pollution. Industrial and harbor zones are areas of loss to control.

Plastic granules of higher density than water will sink.
They are not affected by this initial study of the supralittoral. We believe they represent at least the same amount that the polymer granules floating. The many additives and fillers increases the density of floating pellets. plastic granules flow because of the uncleanness, of fouling or amalgams.
Some industrial plastic granules are eroded more than others, in the aquatic environment more or less aggressive. Granules have visibly sizes of about 1 mm. The attack waves on the coast can melt them like a stone.

Scientists find of industrial pellets in some dissections.
These plastics have ingested "naturally" negative consequences for reproduction and survival of the bird. Plastic granules adsorb organic pollutants (or metal) and can release their many additives.

Similarly, they can facilitate the transfer of exotic species over long distances. Becoming increasingly small, the granules will easily be absorbed or ingested by organisms.

We fear the impact of plastics on our environment ...

Waste reported similar

There is a misunderstanding of the term "mermaid tears". It includes fragments of plastic, glass or minerals, eroded by water. The fragments of plastic, polished by the force of water, often retain their original geometry. They can not look like a manufactured pellet.

Pellets collected as pellets seem to be really medicines or tablets.
Very small granules can be of the polymer powder (particle size of several micrometers), hard polystyrene microbeads but also molecular sieves if they easily crushed.

The polystyrene spherules come from the fragmentation of blocks of expanded polystyrene (styrofoam).
They come from the degradation of protection packaging, insulated containers food, materials of styrofoam used in construction and civil engineering. They can be lost directly by producers, users by water treatment (biofilters?), Etc. ...
They are sometimes seen in large quantities on the shores.
These plastic microbeads, soft and very light, are not involved in this study.

We suggest to apply the 1992 recommendations Agency of Environmental Protection U.S. (EPA) and perform throughout the Operation Clean Sweep as USA (ACC & SPI 2010) or United Kingdom ( and GMP) ...
We look forward to see concrete action on the commitment of world plastics industry during the 5th international conference in Hawaii in March 2011 on marine litter.

We must consider these plastic materials at fair value. These molecules or chemical compounds, with the consequences of use, hygiene and safety that this imposes.

A first step in Europe:

The EU must control the production, packaging, transport and use of industrial plastic granules ...

NGO SOS Mal de Seine

The NGO SOS Mal de Seine, based in Normandy, attended the Grenelle Environment on waste in the aquatic environment and the Grenelle de la Mer She conducted the initial assessment of industrial plastic pellets over 200 beaches and shores of the French coast (Framework Directive European Strategy for the Marine Environment - MSFD). The goals of the NGO: Information on the status of pollution of aquatic environments by marine litter.