Fish Don’t Want to Eat Your Plastic Microbeads Face Wash

 

facewashIf you use a typical off-the-shelf face cleanser or body wash that claims to be an “exfoliator” or “scrub,” chances are, its scouring power comes from tiny pieces of plastic called microbeads.

These beads, many of them as small as a grain of sand, might make your skin feel refreshed, but they’re anything but refreshing for the environment. They’re usually made from polyethylene or polypropylene, two plastic-based compounds that don’t biodegrade.

Why are plastic microbeads in face wash a problem?

Three reasons:

1) When you wash your hands and face with the plastic microbeads in face wash, or use them in the shower, they run down the drain with the rest of the water. They’re too tiny for most water filtration systems to capture so ultimately, they end up in lakes, rivers, and even the oceans – and that’s where they stay.

2) Fish and other sea animals may gulp them up as food, though they’re far from nutritious. In addition to being made of petroleum, micro-plastic has a tendency to attract other pollutants, like DDT, PCBs, flame retardants, and other toxic chemicals.

3) Even if an animal didn’t willingly eat microbeads, it would end up ingesting them because they’re unavoidable once they get in the water. The plastic microbeads  in facewash have been found in fish, marine mammals, mussels and even worms, from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean.

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Illinois has already banned the manufacture and sale of personal care products that contain microbeads, but the new law won’t start going into effect until 2017, and even then, the phase-in will be gradual.

Several other states, including Ohio, New York and California, are looking to follow suit. However, once again, their bans wouldn’t phase in completely for several more years.

Some companies are voluntarily replacing their plastic microbeads with ground coconut shells and other biologically-based scrubbers. However, they will continue to sell the products that contain plastic microbeads until that inventory is gone.

What Can You Do? Use Your Purse. Shift Your Spending.BGP-Purse-Only

You don’t need to wait for states or companies to make the shift to healthier bio-based products that don’t use plastic. Use your purse power now to make choices that will make a difference. When you shift your spending, you protect yourself and your family and send a message to manufacturers that they need to do better if they want your business.

CHOOSE 

Use your power as a consumer to choose soaps, shampoos, body wash and even toothpaste that already are safe to use. Look for…

√ Products that use coconut shells, cocoa beans, apricot pits, and other clearly biological ingredients to give their soap and shampoo scrubbing oomph

√ A reusable loofah, sponge, or wash cloth. Any of these alternatives will get your skin shiny and refreshed without sending nasty particles down the drain. Plus, you’ll save money. Buying one loofah that you use for a year could save you at least $60 on face scrub or body wash.

√ Products that BeatTheMicroBead.org has determined are safe and contain no plastic micro-beads:

Plastic-Free Face Wash

plastic-free facewash

 
Brightening Facial Scrub for all skin types; gently exfoliates
Brightening Facial Scrub for all skin types; gently exfoliates
Hills Citrus Zest Facial Scrub uses natural botanical extracts and Essential oils to buff away dead skin cells.
Hills Citrus Zest Facial Scrub uses natural botanical extracts and Essential oils to buff away dead skin cells.
Burt's Bees Citrus Facial Scrub is blended with oats, orange peel, ground almonds and ground spices with rose petals to create a scrub that's gentle enough for daily use.
Burt's Bees Citrus Facial Scrub is blended with oats, orange peel, ground almonds and ground spices with rose petals to create a scrub that's gentle enough for daily use.
This scrub is naturally enriched with Ester-C, Olive, Aloe and Chamomile.
This scrub is naturally enriched with Ester-C, Olive, Aloe and Chamomile.
This anti-oxidant, nutrient-rich scrub uses adzuki beans and cranberry for extra exfoliating power.
This anti-oxidant, nutrient-rich scrub uses adzuki beans and cranberry for extra exfoliating power.
Yes to Grapefruit formulations blend fruit acids with other natural ingredients.
Yes to Grapefruit formulations blend fruit acids with other natural ingredients.
Alba contains 100% vegetarian ingredients that have not been tested on animals. No parabens, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances.
Alba contains 100% vegetarian ingredients that have not been tested on animals. No parabens, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances.
These loofahs exfoliate without using plastic and can be reused in the bath or shower.
These loofahs exfoliate without using plastic and can be reused in the bath or shower.
Use a fiber back brush for exfoliating hard-to-reach spots.
Use a fiber back brush for exfoliating hard-to-reach spots.
 

AVOID PLASTIC MICROBEADS IN FACE WASH

Before you buy, read the label when you shop so you can make a better choice for yourself and the planet.

Avoid the following:

* Products that include “microbeads” as one of their ingredients

* Products whose ingredients include polyethylene or polypropylene

* Skip “exfoliating” or “scrubbing” cleansers and washes all together in favor of reusable sponges or cloths that can do the job just as well.

* Specific products that may contain plastic microbeads in facewash, according to the BeatTheMicrobead.org are:

Aveeno – Active Naturals Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub
AXE – Scrub with Vitamin C
Clean & Clear – Morning Burst Facial Scrub (oil free), Blackhead Eraser Scrub (oil free) Deep Action Exfoliating Scrub (oil free)
Bath & Body Works – Pure Paradise 2-in-1 Body Scrub and Wash
Clarins – Bright Plus HP Gentle Brightening Exfoliator
Clearasil – Daily clear Refreshing Superfruit Scrub Clinique – Exfoliating Scrub
CVS – Oil free Acne Scrub
Neutrogena – Deep Clean Gentle Scrub
Olay – Professional exfoliating Renewal Cleanser
Rite Aid – Renewal Regenerating Micro Refining Cream
Walgreens – Blackhead Clearing Scrub

This is only a partial list. You can get a complete list for offending face washes and shower scrubs here.

Learn more from the “Beat the Micro Bead” campaign being led by the 5 Gyres Institute and other non-profits to convince manufacturers to do away with microbeads and to pressure legislators to pass laws that ban these pollutants from our soap and shampoo.

Add your name to this Care2 petition calling for a ban on plastic microbeads.

What natural ways do you scrub your face? Please share!

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4 Responses to Fish Don’t Want to Eat Your Plastic Microbeads Face Wash

  1. Cinella June 2, 2015 at 11:21 pm #

    Awesome, thank you!! Already using some Burt’s Bees products!

    • Diane June 3, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

      Great! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Lyn March 31, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    I found some in my closet and will not buy more. Is it helpful to throw them in the trash rather than use what I have already acquired?

    • Diane April 13, 2016 at 9:13 am #

      This is a tough question – use a polluting product or throw it in the trash? In the case of plastic microbeads washing down the drain, it’s probably better to put it in the trash. It will end up buried in a landfill, but since things don’t degrade much in landfill, that might lock up the plastic for some years, at least.

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