Plastic in your personal care? Four alternatives to microbeads

Posted by Erin Forget

Environmental Defence Canada recently called for a ban of microbeads from personal care products, citing growing momentum on that front in the United States amid concerns of their impact on aquatic life.

Scientists have found millions of the small plastic beads in just one square kilometer of parts of the Great Lakes. The beads found in the Great Lakes were tested and found to have come from products like body wash, toothpaste, and facial cleansers.

Microbeads have grown in popularity over the past decade, as more companies have added them to personal care products. They are intended to exfoliate skin (particularly important this time of year!), and sometimes, simply to make the product sparkle.

However, these tiny bits of plastic slip right through wastewater treatment filters and end up in our rivers and lakes and are sometimes ingested by the fish and wildlife that live there.

The good news is that microbeads are easily avoidable, and there are many even better, healthier for us alternatives that will help to keep our waterways clean and support companies that produce safe and natural alternatives.

 

Microbeads

 

1. Sugar

Sugar scrubs are not only easy to find, but also easy to make at home if you’re so inclined. They’re available in a wide range of decadent scents that will satisfy anyone. terra20 carries many sugar scrubs.

 

2. Ground Coffee

You’re going to be tempted to eat this decadent scrub from Ottawa' Purple Urchin. I would be untruthful if I said I hadn’t tried a tiny taste (Verdict: stick to using it as a scrub.) Cocoa butter softens and nourishes the skin, while coffee exfoliates, increases circulation, and redistributes fat cells.

 

3. Ground Nuts & Seeds

Nature offers a bounty of potential exfoliants, in places you may not even expect! Peach stones and citrus peels are just a few of the fridge staples that can double up as an exfoliator for your entire body. Ground almond is another popular exfoliant.

 

4. Bamboo Microfibres

Whoever thought that little bits of renewable bamboo could also moonlight in your facial cleanser? Green Beaver, which makes its products in a certified organic facility that’s just a stone’s throw from Ottawa, shows it can be done with this exfoliating productBamboo micro-fibers bend and flex as they gently remove dead skin cells thus ideal for sensitive skin.

 

(Hint: Avoid any personal care products that contain the ingredients polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and nylon.)