The circle of life – think about it, if you use a skincare product, which may contain microbeads, those little pieces of plastic smaller than a grain of sand, you wash your face, it goes into the waterways, are ingested by fish, and other wildlife, and end up back into our bodies – hmmm….
The planet’s rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans are already choking with plastic. So it’s such good news that the plastic microbeads used in soaps, body washes and other personal-care products will be phased out starting in 2017 under legislation approved by the US Congress and signed by President Obama 18 December 2015.
Natalie Bennett, The Green Party says that the UK should follow the US lead – speaking to The Independent newspaper this week: “The US has acted, and the UK should be acting right now. The evidence is clear and unequivocal: microbeads in cosmetics products are ending up in our waters, in our sealife, and in our own bodies, with pesticides and other chemicals attached,”
“The US ban will come into force in July 2017 – we should be acting now to ensure we have a ban in the UK as soon as possible. And we should be informing consumers about how to identify products containing the microbeads, so those who want to act immediately to reduce these contaminants can do so.
“And we should be thinking further about how we got into a situation where a clearly harmful product is allowed to come into wide use without checking for its effects.”
Here’s some top tips from one of the leading organic skincare brands, Sophie la girafe cosmetics, who have never used plastics in any of their formulas, advising how we in the UK can work to push for a ban here:
- Check out the Marine Conservation Society and you can add your signature too here mcsuk.org/url/scrubitout
- Check out the app created by beatthemicrobead.org
- Look out for products that use cocoa beans, jojoba, and apricot shells as natural replacements for microbeads (see Sophielagirafecosmetics.com for ingredients list)
- Sign the petition here: petition.parliament.uk At 10,000 signatures the UK government will respond to this petition, and at 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament. (Ban the use of plastic microbeads in all cosmetic products sold in the UK)
- Watch this video for more on why microbeads are a really BAD idea for the environment:
Following this post, and over 14,000 signatures on the petition we have had a response from the Government:
“The UK and neighbouring countries are working with industry to achieve a voluntary phase out of plastic microbeads in cosmetics and other personal care products.
The UK and other countries that are contracting parties to the Oslo and Paris Convention for the protection of the North East Atlantic (OSPAR) agreed a regional action plan to address litter in the marine environment in 2014. The action plan includes actions related to microplastics, including working with industry to achieve a voluntary phase out of the use of microplastics in cosmetics and personal care products.
Following these discussions, Cosmetic Europe, the trade association, announced the following recommendation to its members and the rest of the industry:
“Many individual member companies of Cosmetics Europe have publicly stated that they will discontinue those uses in cosmetics that are most likely to end up in the aquatic environment and for which alternatives exist.
Building on this, in order to engage the whole of the Cosmetic Europe membership and to facilitate sector wide best practice, Cosmetics Europe, the personal care association, is today issuing a recommendation to discontinue their use in wash off cosmetic and personal care products for exfoliating and cleansing purposes.
Cosmetics Europe stands ready and is committed to working in partnership with the European authorities to gather scientific data to allow a further assessment of the issue. This knowledge will facilitate scientific decision making and prioritise measures that will result in a true benefit for the environment by reducing the amount of plastic litter in the marine environment.
In order to facilitate global alignment, Cosmetics Europe is working in close contact with its international association partners”.
Microplastics found in the marine environment come from a range of terrestrial and marine sources such as the disintegration of larger plastic items discarded on streets and beaches. The Government has funded research into the possible effects of microplastics in the marine environment which will report later this year.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs”
If you enjoyed this post, you may like to read about other organic skincare solutions here and natural solutions here, living a more sustainable life over here, being green-fingered, and chemical free cleaning over here.
Ali also writes at KidsChaos.com and FunCraftsKids.com