Many, if not most, cosmetic companies are posing an unnecessary threat to the oceans with the tiny plastic micro-granules they add to their products as exfoliants or even just as glitter.
The plastic granules end up washed out to sea where they gather toxins on their surface before being eaten by plankton who mistake them for fish eggs. From plankton they pass up the food chain and back to us.
Three out of four scrubs and peelings contain micro plastics. Shampoos, soap, toothpaste, eyeliners, lip gloss, deodorant and sunblock sticks may also do so. Environmental organisations like the Marine Conservation Society are asking you to boycott products containing plastic ingredients.
There is light on the horizon though. Companies are beginning to take notice. Earlier this month giant manufacturer Unilever agreed to “phase out plastic microbeads as a ‘scrub’ material in all of their personal care products globally by 2015.”
Now Lush, who pride themselves on fresh, handmade, vegetarian cosmetics using “little or no preservative or packaging” have announced that they too will stop using micro plastics in their glitter. The company says “With new agar based glitters and other biodegradable options now coming onto the market we are happy to announce that Lush will be able to eliminate the last plastic glitter in our products in the immediate future”. I suspect many Lush users would be surprised to learn that a company that trumpets its environmental credentials, and its commitment to reducing packaging, used totally unnecessary and damaging micro-plastics in its products in the first place.