Are there microplastics in my shower gel?

Did you know that many products contain mini pieces of plastic? You will find them in care products, soaps, toothpaste and much more… These plastic particles of approximately one millimeter are called microbeads. The granules can easily go through the sewage, which makes them very harmful to the environment.

You can do your own research into the presence of microbeads, in the classroom or at home. How does it work?

Ask the students to each bring a product from home or purchase a number of products, such as toothpaste, cleaning agent, soap, mascara, etc. On the label of the product, you can see if there are plastics present. This is usually under the name of polyethylene, polypropylene or polystyrene.

You will also need:

  • Tablespoon
  • Coffee pot
  • Coffee filter holder
  • Multiple coffee filters
  • 2 glass jugs
  • Boiled water
You can conduct an investigation for the presence of microbeads by means of the following steps:
  • You mix a large spoon of the care product in the hot water in the heat-resistant pitcher. Stir the mixture until it is completely dissolved.
  • After this, place the coffee filter open in the coffee filter holder
  • Then pour the liquid into the coffee pot
  • Do you see speckles? These are microbeads. Use a new coffee filter with every care product so that you can clearly see the number of micro-grains.

An additional tool to check whether you are buying a product without plastics is: Beat the Microbead. This app is free to download. You scan the product and then see whether microbeads have been processed in the product.

Sleeping Beauty

Did you know that some moths hibernate? Team Hei- en Boeicop encountered the herald (Scoliopteryx libatrix) during his winter sleep in the barn. The species seeks a dry place in early November where it stays until April-May. What is special about this species is that it hibernates with bats, which also hibernate in cellars and attics. The sedation is on the bat’s menu, yet they hibernate together in harmony.

The name of the herald has to do with the back of the wings. These look a bit like curtains ruffles, hence the name. The herald has completely adapted to the season, it feeds on the food that is available at that time. In the spring it drinks nectar from the willow catkins, in the summer overripe blackberry juice and in the autumn, it feeds on nectar from the ivy.

Other species that hibernate are the peacock eye (see photo above), the hackled aurelia and the little fox.

Determine Mushrooms

Beautiful, isn’t it, those mushrooms? Like this one, the fairytale antler fungus (left in the photo). The name says it all, the fruiting body is shaped like deer antlers. The species is indispensable, like all fungi. They remove natural waste and create fertile soil again, allowing new plants to grow.

Do you like identifying mushrooms? Then try the ObsIdentify app. It is free to download for Android and Apple. You take a photo and then the app tells you which species it is (with a percentage chance). It is a handy tool that you can use next to an identification book or search card. You can link this app with so that the observed species is immediately added to the database. Ideal!