A Victory against Plastic Pollution!

Now politics in the UK has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, however I wanted to share something good. Now I initially wrote this post on ‘microbeads’ last year, but I’m re-posting it in the new website because in July, the UK government passed a bill that ensures that rinseable cosmetics containing microbeads will be off the shelves by summer 2018 – including those that claim to be ‘biodegradable plastics’ – WOOHOO! Much of it was thanks to an ongoing Greenpeace campaign (or now victorious campaign)

Greenpeace: https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/microbeads-we-won/

Official Pledge: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/environment-secretary-pledges-action-on-ocean-plastics

Catch up! http://www.chemsafetypro.com/Topics/Restriction/Latest_Status_of_Global_Ban_on_Microbeads_in_Personal_Care_Products.html This is for the countries who are lagging behind… put pressure on your governments if they have not yet taken action!

A Recap… All About Microbeads

What exfoliator/cleanser/serum/toothpaste do you use?? Do you really know what is in them and what they are doing to your health and the environment? Being a strong advocate of natural health and beauty, I’m always keen to point out the nasties hiding behind a veil of clever marketing and pretty packaging! This blog highlights just one of the many dangers lurking in the multi $$$ cosmetics industry. Read the following claims commonly written on cosmetic labels…

  • Exfoliator with ‘Gentle Polishing Beads’ to buff away dead skin…
  • Cleanser with exfoliating beads to refine skin tone…
  • Shower gel with bursting beads of freshness…
  • Toothpaste with cleansing beads to whiten and shine…
  • Disguise wrinkles with ‘microspheres’ for a youthful appearance…

All of these sound pretty harmless, even tempting… right? Many of us are easily swayed by these seductive statements, but these cosmetics hide a sinister truth in the form of MICROBEADS. These tiny plastic beads are damaging our planet- the delicate marine ecosystem and all that relies on it for life (including us!) Don’t be fooled by price or claims of being ‘Natural’ as many of these still use microbeads in their products.

What Exactly are Microbeads?

So what are these ‘Microbeads’? Well they are basically minute particles of plastic used in many cosmetics for the purpose of ‘cleansing/polishing/exfoliating/filling’. They are widely used due to their low cost. I’ve added a intro here, but for the full story… do take a look at these links:

Plastic Free Seas http://www.plasticfreeseas.org/microbeads.html

Beat the Microbead http://www.beatthemicrobead.org

Why are they BAD for the environment/health?

These tiny microbeads basically go down the plughole and end up in our rivers and oceans- where they remain for. The particles are too small to be filtered out by water treatment plants. They cause physical harm and chemical harm. Physical harm to the animals in the sense that they literally accumulate in their digestive systems. Chemical harm in that they release toxic chemicals.Then of course it has a knock on effect on the animals and humans that eat the fish- silently poisoning the entire food chain. Research shows that these chemicals can affect the reproductive systems of fish, birds and mammals (yes, including us).

As I’ve mentioned, a handful of countries have moved on from a ‘voluntary reduction’ (where companies are encouraged but not legally bound) and finally passed official bills to ban microbeads. Luckily so… because we know from experience that so called ‘Voluntary Phasing Out’ does NOT work. An official ban and hard line approach is the only way companies will stop using them in manufacturing.

Beware of loopholes too… Even in countries where Microbeads are in the process of being banned, there are attempts by companies to get through these loopholes by using supposedly environmentally friendly ‘bioplastics’ which apparently biodegrade.However the extent at which they do biodegrade and the toxins which they release is not really understood. This is not good enough. Best go for 100% natural. (since writing this the UK has also banned these biodegradable plastics in cosmetics).

What can you do? We as consumers can also choose not to buy the guilty products… There are so many natural alternatives, we really have no excuse. Go for walnut shell, rosehip granules, apricot kernels, pumice, salt, sugar, coffee granules, jojoba beads etc.. Remember that expensive cosmetic brands do not necessarily = ethical. Do your homework and avoid the brands which still use plastics.

Microbeads is only a part of our BIG plastic problem but it is a big step in the right direction and a milestone. So lets continue on this path. Remember, us consumers have a voice 🙂

GO NATURAL! Find out more about truly natural cosmetics, better for the environment and better for you…


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