In den beginne was er niks – ook geen plastics. At the origin of times, there was nothing – even no plastics. Now, they are everywhere. “Plastics are everywhere.” This subtitle was the appetizer for the first Microplastics Symposium in the world, organized by the Nova Institute in Cologne, 1st of July last year. Indeed, plastics – the easy-going and populistic name for kunststoffen – have entered our lives from many angles. 

In the beginning they were the cheap alternatives for our natural products. Handy but a bit fake. After almost one century since their very first arrival in our society, they have been perfected and diversified. A whole plastic science and industry has been developed. And now, they seem to have become superior to any natural product they ever substituted. Though, their superiority has its limits. Because they do not only enter our lives anymore from the products we buy. We also get them back, readily unknown and invisible, from Nature. 

Because that’s what it is nowadays: we get some plastics back from Nature. For instance, in our food. Our appetizing plate with mussels contains about 90 small plastic parts. Bio-honey, contains small plastic parts. Our bodies contain small plastic parts. You hardly see them – today I do not say they are always toxic - but they are there.

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