Almost 400 million tons of plastics are produced every year. Unfortunately, this problem is only going to grow because with an estimated mass of 5 billion tons of plastic in landfill and the environment that will break down over time it means the microplastic levels keep rising. A variety of testing methods have been adopted to determine the prevalence and sources of microplastics contamination in the environment. FT-IR and FT-IR microscopy have been adopted as standard methods for the detection and identification of microplastics from a wide range of environments and in a wide range of sample matrices.
IR imaging has been shown to be an excellent analytical technique for the detection and identification of microplastics present in an unknown sample and can be applied to a much larger range of samples containing microplastics using appropriate sample collection and clean-up. This application note describes the analysis of a standard test sample developed for an interlaboratory study using the PerkinElmer Spotlight 400 FT-IR microscopy and imaging system.