Remember when face and body scrubs containing micro-beads first came out? They looked – and sounded – so futuristic. I mean micro-beads!
These tiny particles promised you fresh dewy skin and more often than not they delivered on that promise – but at what cost?
Turns out those micro-beads aren’t made of magic or unicorn tears, they’re made of plastic. And after you use them in your daily skin-smoothing routine they are washed down the drain where they eventually enter our waterways, where they’ve been accumulating in alarming numbers since they became popular in the 1990’s.
Last week Illinois became the first state in the world to ban the use of micro-beads in body care products, and four other states are following in their eco-friendly footsteps. The Dutch (oh, of course the fabulous, fabulous Dutch) are also leading a campaign to ban micro-beads in Europe.
And Canada? Sweet, apologetic, maple-syrup swilling Canada, where researchers found a staggering 1.1 million plastic particles per square kilometre in Lake Ontario?
This is obviously discouraging, but until our Government gets its act together and takes action to prevent our gorgeous lakes and oceans from being clogged with tiny plastic particulates, you can take three simple steps on your own to prevent this needless pollution:
1. Stop buying products that contain micro-beads. These are commonly advertised in the product’s name, but the micro-beads will also be listed in the ingredients as polyethylene or polypropylene.
2. Use natural scrubs instead. One of my favourite face and body scrubs is a simple mixture of baking soda and water. Baking soda is an incredibly fine exfoliant, and it provides the same skin-smoothing results without the plastic bottle or the plastic beads.
3. Spread the word. Share this post, update your Facebook status, make sure that every scrub-loving friend and family member knows that microbeads = evil-ocean-polluting-death-spheres.
Here’s to smooth skin and fresh water – naturally.