With a BSc in Environment, Economics and Ecology, Sarah has long been fascinated with the challenge of balancing human needs and environmental protection.
In 2013, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) launched the Good Scrub Guide to help shoppers find face scrubs that do not contain microplastic ingredients (also known as plastic microbeads), which can be harmful to the environment.
Now, FFI has launched a new quick guide to help you find microplastic-free toothpastes, body scrubs and shaving products.
“Initially, this project was focused on facial exfoliators as we felt this was something that most people could relate to, but over the past two years we have also reviewed over 1,300 personal care and cosmetic products in the UK in support of the global Beat the Microbead campaign and have found microplastics in over half of the product categories we reviewed,” explained Dilyana Mihaylova, FFI’s Marine Plastics Project Officer.
Plastic microbeads (which are often used as exfoliants but can have many different functions in a wide range of products) are tiny – usually less than 5 millimetres in diameter – and once they are washed down the drain they cannot be filtered out by wastewater treatment facilities. As a result, they end up in our rivers and seas, where they are often eaten by marine wildlife and become embedded in marine ecosystems.
To our knowledge, the brands listed in this table stock only microplastic-free body scrubs. For more product details see our comprehensive database of microplastic-free body scrubs on the Beat the Microbead website
The quick guide launched today will make use of this extensive data-gathering exercise, providing shoppers with examples of brands that do not use plastic microbeads in their toothpastes, body scrubs and shaving products.
“We know this is an issue that people care deeply about,” said Dan Steadman, FFI’s Marine Plastics Project Manager. “The use of microplastic ingredients in health and beauty products is completely unnecessary as there are plenty of natural alternatives available that do not have such a serious impact on the environment.”
The Good Scrub Guide forms part of FFI’s strategy to tackle marine microplastic pollution by working constructively with companies to persuade them to phase out these ingredients. This approach has proven extremely effective, with many leading manufacturers and retailers having already made the pledge to scrub microplastics out of their products.
To our knowledge, the brands listed in this table stock only microplastic-free toothpastes. For more product details see the Beat the Microbead website.
However more needs to be done to level the playing field to ensure that these commitments are ambitious and that companies honour them. For this reason, FFI is also supporting Greenpeace UK’s petition for a ban on plastic microbeads.
To our knowledge, the brands listed in this table stock only microplastic-free shaving products and scrubs. For more product details see our comprehensive database of microplastic-free shaving products on the Beat the Microbead website.
By choosing microplastic-free products and making your choice known, you will send a clear message to manufacturers, retailers and policymakers that people want to end this unnecessary pollution.
There are a number of ways you can support this important work:
Make your bathroom a microplastic-free zone – download the quick guide (PDF).
* To our knowledge, all microplastic-free options in our product database are free from solid plastic ingredients including polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate, polytetrafluoroethylene and nylon. Products containing co- or cross-polymers or ingredients of potential concern identified by UNEP have been excluded from our recommended list pending further investigation.