Public Lab Wiki documentation

Filtering microplastics from sand

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Community groups have gotten creative with ways to collect and filter microplastics pollution from sandy coastal beaches and riverbanks. Read on below for methods that range from standardized protocols, to clean up strategies, to youth-oriented activities.

Lead image from @eustatic in this post

Methods for filtering microplastics from sand

Larger microplastics sampling on a riverbank
  • The Plastic Pirates campaign in the EU outlines a method in their project booklet (pg. 26) for sampling microplastics larger than 1 mm from sandy riverbanks.
  • Great for young people aged 10-16 years! The Plastic Pirates website has support materials and guides for teachers and youth, and instructions on how to build a sampling sieve.
  • Data produced: larger microplastic pieces per square meter.
Beach transect surveys

Image: NOAA, public domain

Sweep and Pan vs. Scoop and Sift: Methods for Nurdle Retrieval

A post from @eustatic that outlines different ways to clean up nurdles (plastic pellets) with readily available tools. Some of these methods and tools could be incorporated into other survey methods described above.

Image: @eustatic, CC BY SA

Commercial mesh box for filtering plastic nurdles from a river beach

Another post from @eustatic showing a simple and highly effective method for sorting large numbers of nurdles (plastic pellets) from sand.


Posts written by Public Lab community members and tagged with activity:filter-microplastics-from-sand will appear here. You can post your own activity using the button below.

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.


Questions from the Public Lab community tagged with question:filter-microplastics-from-sand will appear here. Ask your own question using the button below!

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Have you used other methods to filter microplastics debris from sand? Please edit this wiki page!