“The numbers are staggering: there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometre litter the deep sea.” – Laura Parker in National Geographic. Have you noticed that sometimes in your exfoliators, shower gels, facewashes, toothpastes, etc, contain little balls? These plastic balls are called microbeads, and they’re becoming a bit of a problem.
When you wash the product off the mircobeads head down the drain. Will water filters and treatment plants pick them up? Unfortunately not as they’re so small, so they’re ending up straight into the oceans and have been found in the stomachs of marine animals! It could start to cause an even bigger problem if the issue with the microbeads starts to move further up the food chain.
These beads will not naturally break down or vanish – they’re completely plastic and non-biodegradable. These microbeads are causing issues that could easily be avoided simply by replacing them with other natural ingredients which also act as an exfoliant and do the same job or even better. Some natural and more environmental alternatives are:
- Sea Salt
- Apricot Kernel Powder
- Ground Nutshells
- Bamboo powder
- Fruit Enzymes
All less harmful than plastic microbeads! A step in the right direction did happen with the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 and the US banned the use of microbeads in rinse-off products. Now that puts a bit more pressure on the UK to follow in the same direction.
Here are our favourite scrubs from Green People, showing the world you don’t need microbeads to get lovely, soft skin:
What are your views on microbeads? Were you aware of the problem or think that we need to do more to eliminate them?