If you live near the coast it’s quite likely that your skin care products end up in the ocean. It’s generally not a big issue as most ingredients are made from sources that biodegrade but that appears to be changing. Recently scientists have been documenting microplastics on beaches and in open water. One likely source is plastic microbeads used in some facial scrubs and other products.
Think back to your shower this morning. It probably felt good to wake up a bit and clean up for the coming day. Maybe you do you best to reduce plastics in the bathroom by using bar soap and buying shampoo/conditioner in bulk with your reusable bottles but plastics are sneaking up in new places.
Now, it’s not just plastic packaging, there’s plastic in your products! ‘Natural’ products with ‘gentle microbeads’ don’t come out and tell you they are made with plastic, you need to do a little research as the image shows…
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Researchers with 5 Gyres recently found microplastics in trawl samples from the Great Lakes. It’s not just an ocean issue, but something that could impact just about any waterway, lake, bay, etc.
An article this week in The Oregonian covers Marc Ward, who has “discovered, a "plastic sink," one of the spots along Oregon's coast where thousands upon thousands of plastic fragments spin out of the North Pacific Gyre and settle into high-tideline sands.” These microplastics are likely a mix of mainly photo-degraded microplastics mixed with some more recent microplastics such as microbeads and nurdles/mermaid tears/pre-production resin pellets.
Another source of microplastics to be aware of is washing fabrics made from polyester fibers. Researchers have determined that garments can shed microfibers that can make it to the beach or ocean. That warm fuzzy feeling you got from buying a fleece made from recycled plastic bottles may be going down the drain.
The common thread (no pun intended) is that microplastics used at home don’t get filtered by your washing machine, drains or the wastewater treatment plant. These microplastics don’t biodegrade and can take a free ride through our civilized infrastructure to be deposited in the natural environment then accumulate with unknown consequences. Turn back the clock and use clothes with natural fibers along with truly natural ingredients for your personal care products. The web is ripe with recipes for homemade skin care products that save money, reduce packaging and are MICROBEAD FREE!