Microplastic in the Ocean Smallest parts – biggest problems Highly visible plastic litter that floats in the sea and dirties coastlines and beaches is obviously damaging to the environment, fishing and tourism. The tiny plastic parts that measure less than five millimeters, however, cause immense problems in the world‘s oceans. This microplastic is produced for use in cosmetics, hand soap and cleaning products (primary microplastic) or is created when big pieces of plastic waste break apart and degrade (secondary microplastic) . Primary microplastic Always do without wherever possible According to estimates made by the German Environ- ment Agency (UBA), every year European manufacturers use 3,125 tons of primary microplastic in products such as toothpaste, hand soap, peeling lotions and household cleaners. We think that using microplastic for the products‘ esthe tics is completely superfluous.