Materials List: Microplastic Extraction of Exfoliating Beads from Cleansers

Each group needs:

  • small whiteboard (or poster board) with markers
  • 3 coffee filters, such as from a pack 100 unbleached #4 size for $5 and up on Amazon
  • 1 funnel, such as a 4.25 inch-diameter plastic funnel for $4 from Amazon
  • 1 syringe, such as the 100-ml plastic syringe for $2 from Amazon
  • 30 cm tubing; the funnel should fit inside the tube, so the .5-inch outer diameter x 3/8-inch inner diameter x 10 feet clear vinyl tubing for $8 from Amazon should fit around the lip of funnel tube
  • 1 beaker with 30 ml of water; students may need all this water!
  • 1 wastewater container, a small plastic bag or Tupperware container works well
  • 1 tablespoon (about 1 oz) of cleanser with microplastic beads, such as Clean & Clear Morning Burst Oil-Free Hydrating Facial Cleanser, Olay Fresh Effects Deep Pore Clean Plus Exfoliating Scrub and others; often “exfoliating” or “microbeads” are mentioned on the packaging; usually ~$5-8 per tube of 5-7 ounces each; plan on about 10-12 oz per class of 30, and only one product is required for student extraction.
  • safety goggles, one pair per person
  • Microplastic Masses Worksheet, one per student

To share with the entire class:

  • technical capability to show a 3-minute online video from 5Gyres
  • tablespoons, 1 per team, for giving each team a cleanser sample for microbead extraction; same for all teams; measure empty tablespoon and provide weight to students
  • scale, to measure in milligrams or even more precisely
  • water