It’s been interesting reading recently about the problem with Microbeads in skincare and household products. Microbeads are teeny tiny bits of plastic that are in facial scrubs, exfoliants, some toothpaste, and products such as cleaning products to give a mild abrasive effect. Typically, they are made from polyethylene and they damage the ocean because they end up in the rivers, seas and lakes and potentially poison marine life (who can mistake them for plankton) and so they end up in the food chain.
It’s the sheer numbers that matter, one tube of exfoliating scrub could contain 2.8 million beads and because they’re too small to be filtered out by sewage systems, it’s thought that they contribute considerably to the around 8 million tonnes of plastic in our oceans.
Ethical campaigners have been talking about it for years, many companies have come on board to ban the beads including Waitrose who have said they won’t stock beauty products containing them, L’Oréal have also said they will phase them out. There’s pressure on David Cameron to follow in the footsteps of Obama who has banned them, as have the Canadian Government.
It’s a start but it’s literally a bead in the ocean and it’s not just microbeads that cause issues, all plastic disintegrates and so is a problem. Even synthetic fabrics give off tiny plastic microfibers. Scientific research has found different types of plastic in sea life, and apparently 90 per cent of birds have traces of plastic in their stomachs! Add to that all the other hormone disrupting chemicals that are in skincare and personal care products and it’s a huge problem.
You can do your bit by supporting the companies who don’t use these, if you want a facial exfoliator it’s easy to make your own – use and handful of oatmeal, sea salt, and honey – and of course the avocado face mask is well known for its therapeutic properties. If you want that abrasive effect try tiny fragments of rice or seeds.
If you make a fresh juice (hope so!) use the pulp from your juice as a mask, instead of putting it straight onto the compost, apply and leave on for a few minutes, some of those beneficial live enzymes will still be intact and beneficial.