Now this is something to celebrate. Just under the wire of 2015, President Obama signed into law the Microbead Free Waters Act. Why is this important? In toothpaste, makeup, soaps and scrubs, microscopic plastic microbeads–typically made out of polyethylene and polypropylene–are too small to be filtered out of wastewater and wreak havoc on streams, rivers and lakes. According to EcoWatch, “one tube of exfoliating facewash can contain more than 350,000 microbeads” and an estimated 2.9 trillion microbeads enter U.S. waterways annually.
The new law will phase out manufacturing of products containing plastic microbeads by 2017, and prohibit the sale of such products by 2018. This federal action follows a series of statewide bans, beginning with Illinois in 2014, and pressure from non-profits like the 5 Gyres Institute on companies such as The Body Shop and Unilever to phase out plastic microbeads in favor of natural ingredients like crushed walnut shells or sugar, which features in my easy DIY organic face scrub and mask, natch.