July 3, 2013

Tiny Plastics Are a Big Problem

Exciting news! Three major manufacturers of skin care products that contain “micro-beads” have declared that they will discontinue their use by 2015.

Organizations like 5 Gyres have been leading campaigns and petitions demanding that the small but extremely harmful plastic beads be removed from face and body washes. 

Thanks to clean-water advocates, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and The Body Shop have made the commitment to stop using the tiny beads.

The plastic beads don’t dissolve once they run down the drain and cannot be removed from the water at sanitation or treatment plants. They are left in the water, making their way out to lakes, rivers and the ocean. The plastic absorbs pollutants and can be eaten by animals. This presents not only a major issue for wildlife but for humans as well—we are all connected!

Campaigners are pushing Procter & Gamble to make the switch to biodegradable exfoliants sooner than the projected phase-out in 2017.  Four years means a lot of polyethylene plastic and a long time to wait.

According to 5 Gyres, “micro-plastic particles are found in all oceanic gyres, bays, gulfs and seas worldwide.” The organization also estimates that some products contain as many as 300,000 of the beads in a single container.

There are natural alternatives that can be found in stores such as apricot and cocoa bean scrubs. Home scrubs made from food items like sugar are easy, and tasty, options too. There is no reason to pollute waterways and the ocean with plastic particles.

Save Our Shores is committed to preserving our coasts and oceans and this means keeping water free of pollutants and litter—no matter the size!

photo courtesy of 5 Gyres

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