In the latest of news stories about the environment, pollution and nature, MP’s in the UK have recently proposed a ban on microbeads found in numerous beauty products you probably use religiously in the morning and at night. If you’ve always used a certain face exfoliator or toothpaste made with these tiny little scrubbing balls in you’re probably contemplating the ban on the beads and wondering if your products will scrub as good without them.
The proposed ban probably won’t wash well with many beauty addicts but a typical squeeze of face scrub can release tens of thousands of tiny particles of plastic into our sewers, rivers and oceans, where they are being eaten by a menagerie of sea creatures. It’s thought they can pollute the whole food chain and even end up back on our plates. It’s a scary thought but people who eat shellfish and similar could also be consuming 11,000 tiny particles of plastic per year. Let’s not forget the damage to all of the unfortunate marine animals who unwittingly eat them too…
It’s not just facial exfoliators that contain these tiny balls designed to scrub away dead skin cells and dirt. Microbeads have been a key ingredient in many shower gels, body polishes and toothpastes for many years. Any product designed to slough away dead skin is highly likely to contain them, even if they’re from brands that are thought to be cruelty free. Canada has already enforced the microbead ban currently being proposed here for the same reason.
Let’s face it, we’re a nation obsessed with our appearance and billions of pounds is spent on beauty products and cosmetics alone every year. When we’re using our face scrub or toothpaste in the morning, however, we rarely think of the long lasting effect their ingredients will have on the environment around us. Greenpeace have the best philosophy when it comes to considering the effect on sea life and that’s simply the belief that something that’s used for a few minutes every day shouldn’t stick around in the environment for many decades. The plastics used to make these tiny microbeads are a man made substance and do not degrade very easily. Some common products that contain obvious plastic microbeads are in the spot-busting Clean & Clear range, if you’re a fan of this brand you may want to stock up on plenty of Morning Energy face scrub before the government pulls the plug on it’s exfoliating microbeads. If and when the ban does go ahead, I’m sure plenty of environmentally friendly alternatives and DIY solutions will replace the hole in the exfoliating market, so don’t despair!