It’s time to celebrate! Canada’s official nationwide ban on products containing plastic microbeads took effect as of January 1, 2018. Many states in the U.S. have also banned the harmful ingredient. This is a major victory in the fight to protect oceans, lakes and animals. Read on to learn about the pernicious effects microbeads have on the environment and our lives.
Something as simple as washing your face could have a massive, negative impact on the health of our lakes and oceans. Body washes, facial cleansers or toothpastes that promise a deep, scrubby clean may contain microbeads. By choosing cosmetics wisely, you can avoid filling your bathroom with nonbiodegradable plastics that could become toxic to marine wildlife.
Microplastics (or microbeads) are the tiny plastic particles found in a variety of cosmetics and exfoliating body washes and facial cleansers. Since they’re too small to be filtered by water treatment systems, they end up in our lakes, oceans and the animals that live there. Once they’ve been swept into our water systems, microbeads never biodegrade and remain at the bottom of our waterways until they’re consumed by marine life. These plastic particles also act as sponges, soaking up a million times more toxic chemicals than the water around it. Once eaten, those toxins can pass into the tissues of fish and other marine animals, eventually ending up in our food chain.
A fight worth fighting
It’s estimated that billions of these plastic particles are flushed down the drain every single day. Fighting against plastic pollution is 5Gyres Institute, a grassroots organization based in California. In a 2013 study of the Great Lakes, 5Gyres revealed that microplastics found in Lake Erie made up a whopping 90 percent of the total plastics found.
In 2012, the Sea Turtles Forever Blue Wave Team filtered more than half a pound of plastic from one square meter of water in Crescent Beach, Oregon. Their plastic haul included 739 styrene flakes and 861 industrial pellets. Marine biologist and author Dr. Wallace J. Nichols says, “Microplastics can be found in lakes, rivers and every single ocean around the world, and in the last decade [they’ve] become one of the worst forms of plastic pollution.”
Without the tireless efforts of organizations like 5Gyres Institute and Sea Turtles Forever, the latest bans on microbeads may not have come to pass.
Cosmetics don’t need plastics, anyway
Cleansers using natural ingredients are readily available, so you won’t have trouble finding an environmentally friendly product that’ll leave your skin looking clear and your complexion fresh. The ground almonds in Angels On Bare Skin, polenta in Let The Good Times Roll and aduki beans in our cooling Mask Of Magnaminty all offer a natural way to remove dead skin cells, while the fine sea salt in Ocean Salt not only exfoliates, but also helps to remineralize and brighten skin tone. And when you wash these down the drain, they’ll break down without harming our ecosystem. Plus, they’re all available in self-preserving formulas, which have no synthetic preservatives added to them.
For our glitters and plastics, we’ve avoided microplastics completely by switching our glitter to synthetic mica. Our ingredient suppliers have worked hard to develop a plastic-free alternative for our products, making it safe for the environment.
Everything we wash down the drain will eventually end up somewhere in our ecosystem—and in the case of non-biodegradable microplastics, they’ll stay there forever. The use of microplastics by cosmetics manufacturers has been largely unregulated in most countries, but Canada has officially made their use in products illegal, and some states across the US are following suit.
So, say goodbye to microbeads! And remember, cosmetics with natural, safe ingredients are easy to source and will leave your skin feeling clean, smooth and radiant.
You can find out more about our plastic-free products by visiting your local Lush store or calling our friendly customer care team at 1-888-733-5874.