LakeMats: The Eco-Friendly Weed Control Solution That Will Not Create Microplastics

In recent times, we received a message expressing a valid concern: “I’m worried 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 waterfowl.” This is an extremely important concern we’re glad to discuss.

How Microplastics Are Created

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

Biodegradable vs. Non-Biodegradable

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

Polypropylene geotextiles are "non-biodegradable," meaning they cannot be decomposed or dissolved naturally. We often think of non-biodegradable as a negative attribute — unless it’s a plastic that doesn’t fragment and therefore cannot create microplastic particles. In this case, non-biodegradable material is exactly 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) while your feet remain unaffected. This occurs because short, ultraviolet light wavelengths deflect quickly. The UV light spectrum (UVA, UVB, and UVC) can’t penetrate more than a couple of 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, thus 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 realistically, no one would leave a LakeMat onshore for 35 years.

The Eco-Friendly Choice

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.

For more information on the impact of plastics and microplastics in the environment, refer to the UK Environment Agency report on microplastics.

Choose LakeMats for a sustainable and effective solution to aquatic weed control.
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