LakeMats Will Not Create Microplastics

LakeMats Will Not Create Microplastics

We recently received this message: “…concerned that sunlight will make these mats break down over time, and eventually the lake will become polluted with particles of microplastics that will get into the bodies of fish and water fowl.”

This is an extremely important concern we’re glad to discuss..


How Microplastics Are Created

Environmental microplastics are caused by the fragmentation of ordinary plastics when exposed to sunlight. These fragments remain in the environment because their molecular weight is too high for microbes to consume them. Even though we call them microplastics, they’re far too large to be digested by microorganisms — it would be like you trying to eat your car. 

Biodegradable vs. Non-Biodegradable

Materials that can be broken down naturally are called, “biodegradable,” which is usually a good thing — unless it’s plastic. Common plastics left in sunlight break down, creating microplastic particles. 

Polypropylene geotextiles are “non-biodegradable,” they cannot be decomposed or dissolved naturally. We usually think of non-biodegradable as a bad thing — unless it’s a plastic that doesn’t fragment, and can’t create microplastic particles. In this case, non-biodegradable material is what we  want.

How Sunlight Behaves in Water

If you stand in a pool under a hot sun, your shoulders will get tanned, (or sunburned) but your feet are unaffected. This is because the short, ultra-violet light wavelengths deflect quickly. The UV light spectrum (UVA, UVB, and UVC) can’t penetrate more than a couple inches of water.  

Because of this, our geotextiles receive nearly zero UV rays underwater — and remain intact until removed and recycled. The fibers don’t fragment from sunlight exposure, therefore they don’t create microplastics. 

If someone took a LakeMat out of the water and left it onshore in direct sunlight, the fabric would start turning brittle in about 35 years. But no one would get a LakeMat and leave it onshore for 35 years. 

LakeMats do not create microplastics, nor do they harm the microorganisms that keep your lake clean. They are the most eco-friendly method of controlling weeds in ponds, lakes and rivers.