Pete Seeger would not “like” this!

Pete Seeger would not like this.!!!"If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production". -Pete Seeger

This weeks spotlight: Microbeads, aka: polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and nylon.

Basically microbeads are small plastic beads that are being flushed into our waters, because companies decided to add plastic to our face wash and toothpaste etc… for a one time scrub on our body and gums.  What ever happened to the simple apricot facial scrub or good old baking soda? Why microbeads are bad:

  • Microbeads are used in hundreds of personal care products (including toothpaste, shaving cream, shower gel and exfoliating scrubs);
  • A single product may contain thousands of microbeads;
  • Microbeads could constitute up to 10% by volume of a single product;
  • Sewage treatment facilities are not designed to filter these tiny microbeads from wastewater so some microbeads will still be present in effluent water leaving the treatment plant;
  • Microbeads are found throughout the marine environment (from Lake Geneva to the North Pole);
  • Microbeads will not biodegrade;
  • They are ingested by various sea species;
  • They can end up in the food chain;
  • They attract persistent organic toxins (POPs);
  • Natural, biodegradable and effective alternative ingredients such as ground nut shells and salt crystals are readily available.

Johnson and Johnson said they would start phasing out mircobeads in about half of their products by 2015. What? Why not now?  Why not all of their products by 2015? Think about that next accidental mouthful of water that you will get John Johnson the next time you go surfing from your eco resort in Costa Rica! How many microbeads you will accidentally ingest?  One? two?…hundreds? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands??…. my point is I don’t want to ingest any if I can help it!  I know John you don’t go surfing everyday and you probably won’t ingest that many beads but just think about all the fish and wildlife that live in micro-plastic infested waters.  I thought giant gyres of plastic bottles and smallish plastic bits in the oceans were bad, they pale in comparison to the threat of microbeads on our environment.

I mean if you have to look on the bright side of things.  One positive thing about ingesting these small non biodegradable plastic beads at least we have added fiber to our diets.

My Microbead design challenge.

I would like to propose the microbead design challenge.  What can we do with them other than brush or wash them into our water?  I mean I don’t want to waste the billions of particles that have already been made, but I certainly don’t want to flush them into the water. I would encapsulate them in a resin of some sort and create sparkly lamp shades with them, or sparkly room dividers…. or? I would like to hear your ideas how we can design, non-beauty products, with these microbeads so they don’t end up in our water.

Legislation to ban microbeads is in the works in a few states.

Ban in Illinois in the works for 2018, .

States like California, Minnesota, New York and Ohio are also considering legislation to ban microbeads from store shelves.

In Summary:  Waiting for “The Man” to ban these microbeads will take forever!!!

For companies to stop the use of microbeads and for legislation to be put in place to ban them, could take years for even the first steps to be made.  Meanwhile billions of these insipid micro-plastic particles will be simply washed into our waters around the world.  

We are the consumers and must take action now and simply boycott the use of all products that contain these microbeads!

If you are unsure of what products have microbeads here is a link that might help you do your own sleuthing.  9 Steps for Unearthing Products with Harmful Plastic Microbeads,

Please spread the word about how environmentally damaging these microbeads are, to your friends and family.

Microbeads, aka: polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and nylon.)

“If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production”. -Pete Seeger

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