Plastic microbeads are on their way to being banned in Canada. That's good news for our environment.
These tiny plastic beads wash down our drains, too small to be caught by the wastewater treatment facilities. They end up in our lakes and waterways.
The Problem With Microbeads
On the March 30th episode of CBC's The Current, Megan Leslie, NDP's Environment critic and Member of Parliament for Halifax, explained that fishes and shellfish mistake microbeads for food. They think they are full but can't eat anymore because their bellies are stuffed with plastic. Then, they starve to death. Microbeads are similar to sponges and absorb can absorb toxins like DDT and PCBs. They fish eat these and down the food chain we are eating the fish.
You can support the proposed cosmetic microbead ban by completing this letter via Environmental Defence.
Ditching The Bead
For the longest time I didn't know that the scrubby things in my personal care products were made of plastic but as I cleaned up my beauty routine they disappeared from my shelves. It seemed that the products containing microbeads included ingredients I no longer wanted to use. It became easy for me not to use them but I've missed the satisfying feeling of a good exfoliation.
If you dig the multitasking goodness of an exfoliating wash, you might be left wondering what you'll use if the microbead ban goes into effect? Or if you're eager to stop washing with plastic now than you can follow Adria Vasil's suggestion during her segment on The Current by starting your own microbead ban.
Try the Beat The Microbead app to see if your toiletries contain them. Hint…you're looking for Polyethylene (PE) but you can usually tell by the grainy feeling in the product.
Alternatives To Plastic Microbeads
Natural exfoliants such as sugar, sea salt, coffee grounds, jojoba beads, almonds, baking soda, and oatmeal can be used with a little water and/or your favourite moisturizer. There are plenty of recipes to be found on Pinterest like this sugar scrub or sea salt scrub if you're the do-it-yourself type.
Since I've not so crafty, I've been buying different types of exfoliants from non-toxic beauty brands and sharing my finds on Instagram. Pop on over to see what I'm trying!