This Is Why You Should Look Out For Microfibres In Your Cosmetics

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 2 years ago | News

Image: Glossier campaign. Image source.

If you’re someone that’s passionate about sustainability, then you’ve probably heard about microfibres — the plastic particles that break off from synthetic clothing and pollute our oceans. But did you know that there are also tiny plastic particles present in many cosmetic products too? Suddenly the soft-skin results of that exfoliating face wash seem somewhat more sinister. Not only does washing your face with plastic feels irksome though, it also has a devastating impact on our marine life. Which is why it’s become increasingly important for us to know what’s in our cosmetics. 

As Vice points out, the plastic ingredients in your personal care products can’t be recycled and won’t decompose in a wastewater treatment plant once you wash them down the drain. In other words then, these nasty, non-biodegradable microplastics eventually wind up in our oceans, where they can last for hundreds of years and will be swallowed up by marine life in the process. It is for this reason that New Zealand followed in the footsteps of Canada and the US earlier this year when they decided to ban microbeads. 

“The problem with microbeads is that they are too small to retrieve or recycle, they do not biodegrade, and that they are mistaken by marine life as food, causing long-term damage to aquatic animals like fish and mussels,” explained New Zealand’s Environment Minister Nick Smith at the time. “The use of plastic microbeads in personal care products like facial cleaners and toothpaste makes no sense when there are biodegradable alternatives like apricot kernels and ground nut products that achieve the same results.”

So just as we have become vigilant in watching out for plastics in our wardrobes, we now need to extend this same consideration to our bathroom cabinets as well. Speaking with Vice, UN Environment’s Programme Officer Heidi Savelli said that watching out for the presence of plastics in your personal care products is often a matter of investigating the ingredients list. “The problem with the primary microplastics, especially those in personal care and cosmetic products, is that you won't easily see them,” she explains. Fortunately though, “there's an app called Beat the Microbead, [which] helps consumers to know what's in their products. You take a picture of the product's bar code on the app, and that's linked to a database where companies provide information on the content of their products.” Yes, joining the fight against plastics really is as simple as that.

Via Vice

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