In 2015 President Obama signed a bill making rinse-off microplastics “microbeads” illegal to manufacture in products in the USA after July 1, 2017; However the existing products are still on store shelves and available to consumers until January 1, 2018.
This year, please pay close attention that the products you purchase do not contain plastic beads. If the front label has words like “exfoliating” or “microbeads” please read the back label to be sure the exfoliating agents are biodegradable; not made with polyethylene, polypropylene, polylactic acid (PLA), polystyrene, or polyethylene terephthalate.
If you were not aware of this issue before now, watch this two-minute video made by The Story of Stuff Project. Many studies have shown that microplastics are being found in oceans, rivers, and estuaries worldwide. These tiny plastics are not being filtered out at wastewater treatment plants before the treated water is dumped back into waterways. We have to stop releasing these tiny pieces of plastics down the drain and into our natural ecosystems.
The non-profit 5 Gyres has been educating the public on this issue for several years with their #Beadfree campaign. Their recommendation for any products you already own with microbeads is to empty them into the trash then recycle the container.
Please help educate your friends and family on how they can help. With small steps, we can all make a big impact on preventing plastic litter from polluting our planet any further.
A special thank you to the Model for Earth in this post, Brittany Adams-Graner.