Awareness around the issues microplastics cause in the marine environment has continued to grow over the past 12 months, however businesses are often overlooked in the discussion.

To combat this, we have been working with Earthwatch Europe to put together guidance on how to help businesses respond to microplastics and the problems microplastic pollution can cause.

Our report, which draws from our work with the European Commission on measures to reduce microplastics, highlights the actions that businesses can take to reduce the risks associated with microplastics as a pollution source.

As part of the project we have developed five interactive risk assessments, allowing businesses to self-assess the risk posed to them by microplastics. A wide range of businesses are included, ranging from plastic producers and sellers to artificial pitch owners, tyre manufacturers and the clothing and textile industry.

The full report examines the scale of the microplastics problem in the context of current UK, European and global legislation, before going on to examine the risks to business and suggesting actions that can be taken to minimise those risks.

Simon Hann, report author and our microplastics lead, said:

“Businesses are often unaware of the risks that they are exposed to by the microplastics problem. For the first time businesses are able to identify the real-life risks that microplastics pose to their specific business area – and will be able to take action based on the next steps that we suggest to help minimise those risks. It is exciting to have been involved in this unique piece of work, and we look forward to working closely with businesses to help them tackle the challenge of microplastic pollution.”

Debbie Winton, Research Manager from Earthwatch, said:

“Earthwatch is proud to provide a meaningful and practical approach for businesses to tackle the rather intangible issue of microplastic pollution through this report. The roadmap we have developed will help businesses navigate their way through the increasing risks arising from the issue, to apply these learnings and prioritise their actions. We look forward to collaborating with them and their supply chains, to make a real difference to the problem.”