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Today the UK bans hugely harmful Plastic Microbeads

Today the UK bans hugely harmful Plastic Microbeads
Source: Flickr

Tiny particles of plastic are seriously damaging the planet’s water and the creatures who live in it. Fortunately the UK now officially bans them.

Huge win for our planet; the UK finally bans Plastic Microbeads

As reported by the Guardian, the manufacturing ban means the tiny beads which harm marine life can no longer be used in cosmetics and personal care products.

The plastic microbeads ban – which was long-promised – came into effect on 9th January 2018. The ban initially bars the manufacture of such products and a ban on sales will follow in July.

The UK Bans Plastic Microbeads in personal care and make-up products This is a great step forward. But many countries have not yet banned them. And there are many other sources of microplastics that end up in our oceans. The good news is... there are a lot thing you can do today to reduce micro plastic pollution. Source: Facebook BrightVibes
The positive effects of the charge are undisputed, saving 9 billion plastic bags since 2015
2015 UK forced retailers to charge 5p for a plastic bag The positive effects of the charge are undisputed, saving 9 billion plastic bags since 2015 Source: Flickr

Bans work. 9 Billion fewer plastic bags since 2015

On Sunday, the prime minister, Theresa May tweeted: “In 2015 we introduced the 5p charge on plastic carrier bags, we now see 9bn fewer bags being used. It’s making a real difference. We want to do the same with single use plastics. Nobody who watched #BluePlanet2 will doubt the need for us to do something – and we will.”

The UK plastic microbeads ban is ofcourse good news for the environment. However, as the ban is not global (yet) we give you seven tips on how you can help today to stop microplastics from hurting our planet.

Microplastics and the environment

There is a certain type of plastic whose damaging effects are not yet widely recognised by the public, and these are microplastics. Microplastics are particles less than five millimeters in size that deteriorate from larger plastic pieces that have entered the oceans, or are added to cosmetics we wash away, or they arrive in the sea as fibres washed from our clothes. They are not biodegradable and once they enter the marine environment, they are impossible to remove.

Source: NatGeo Main Image: SeaEdu

7 things you can do to stop microplastics

Watch the video below  with seven things you can do to stop microplastics doing more harm

Clothing is also a major source of microplastics

Many are already aware of the microbeads in our cosmetics, but did you know that clothing is also a major source of microplastics? Your stretch jeans, your polar fleece top and your polyester shirt – there’s a good chance that sea animals have already ingested or absobed a piece of these clothes items.

Source: NobleHouse

Micro-plastics are passed along up the marine food chain, ultimately to humans

Tiny particles of plastic have been added to thousands of personal care cosmetic products sold around the world, or strands are simply washed from our clothing. These micro-plastics, hardly visible to the naked eye, flow straight from our homes into the sewer system. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to filter them out, and that is the main reason why they contribute to the Plastic Soup swirling around the world’s oceans. Sea animals absorb or eat micro-plastics. These micro-plastics are passed along the marine food chain. Since humans are ultimately at the top of this food chain, it is likely that we are also ingest them. absorbing micro-plastics from the food we eat. Microplastics are not biodegradable and once they enter the marine environment, they are impossible to remove.

Clothing fibers found in mussels, honey and sea salt It has long been known that microplastics in cosmetics make their way into our water supply, but this research shows that clothing fiber pollution is significantly greater. Source: TheStoryOfStuffProject

What can I do about plastic micro-beads and microfibres

Until they take notice, it is important that we do not use care products with plastics. You too can help to end the plastic soup in the ocean. Check the list of ingredients on the label. A range of solid microplastics are found within cosmetics and personal care products, with the most common being:

– Polyethylene / Polythene (PE)
– Polypropylene (PP)
– Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
– Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
– Nylon

Regards the fibres, the only real solution to that is to wear natural fibres which break down in the environment harmlessly. 

Source: MarineConservationSociety.uk

To sum up what you can do today:

  1. When you wash synthetic clothes, use a Cora Ball, which filters tiny particles out of the rinse water in the washing machine.
  2. Or wash your synthetic clothes in a Guppy Bag, which traps microfibres and prevents them from reaching the water supply0
  3. Buy organic clothes instead of synthetic
  4. Scrub with a natural products like oat or salt. Here you find 7 great alternatives
  5. Don’t use age-defying makeup. Simply love yourself the way you are 😉
  6. Avoid any toothpaste, scrubs etc containing polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polymathy methacrylate.
  7. Demand your government to ban microbeads
Make an Impact

More information on what you can do about micro-plastics

Check out suggestions and links from the Plastic Soup Foundation on what we can do as individuals, and discover petitions and groups who are already fighting against this toxic plastic mess in our environment.