Today, for the first time ever, I want to share an app with you! This app can help you avoid plastics, very small plastics. So small that you usually can’t even see them. Micro-plastics. They pollute the environment. Micro-plastics end up in the oceans, in animals and also: in humans. It is a good thing to try to avoid micro-plastics as much as we can. The next app can help you with that: Beat The Microbead!
What Are Micro-Plastics?
Micro-plastics are very small pieces of plastic. Usually so small that we can’t see them with our bare eyes. Most people think micro-plastics end up in the environment because big pieces of plastic break into smaller ones. And then again and again and again. After this proces you end up with micro-plastics so most people are right. However, there are also other sources of micro-plastics. One is plastic clothing. If you wash plastic clothing (like polyester) micro-plastics are released and can’t be filtered by the washing machine. They are too small and so they end up in our sewage.
There is a solution to that (besides not buying plastic clothing), but I’ll talk more about that later. The source of micro-plastics I want to talk about today are cosmetics. Micro-plastics are intentionally put in cosmetics. Cosmetic companies claim these will cleanse your skin better or do other magic (which is bullsh*t). Think about scrubs, the hard pieces in there are usually plastics. And plastic is not only in scrubs, it’s in all cosmetics, make-up, toothpaste, day-cream etc.
Why Avoid Micro-Plastics?
I wrote a post about plastic in general. 8 reasons to ditch (especially single-use) plastic. If you read that you’ll understand why I don’t like plastics. However, micro-plastics are a little special in this story. They are a really nasty form of plastic pollution. That’s because they’re small and most of the time you can’t see them. And because they are so small they spread easily. In the oceans, in animals and in humans. Micro-plastics have been found in a lot of our food already. In beer, in water, in honey, etc. It is not healthy to have micro-plastics in your body.
‘There are doubts about nano-plastic ingredients used in products like sunscreen. Nano-plastic ingredients may easily penetrate skin due to their extreme small size. Also, micro-plastic ingredients in the sea absorb toxic chemicals as if they are little magnets. The particles become polluted and are eaten by fish and other sea animals.’Beat The Microbead
I try to avoid all plastics, you probably know that. And since most cosmetics which contains micro-plastics also have a plastic packaging I barely buy those products. I usually make my own cosmetics, like deodorant and make-up remover. But when you don’t make things yourself it’s good to know what’s in your product.
Beat The Microbead
That’s where the app Beat The Microbead comes in. If you install this app you can scan the bar code of (almost) any cosmetic. Then the app immeadiately tells you whether the product contains micro-plastics or not. Useful, right? Of course you can also see if the product contains micro-plastics by reading the ingredient list. There is a basic rule to use: if one of the ingredients has the word poly in it then it’s usually plastic. However, I can image that you don’t want to read that extensive list every time (ingredient lists in cosmetics are always long). And what if you already have products that contain micro-plastics? A shampoo which is still half-full for example. You never hear me say this but my advice would be: throw it away. The trash can is better than the oceans.
If you don’t want to install the app because you don’t want one more app and want to keep your phone clean: I get that. There is also a website available from Beat The Microbead. There you just search for the product you want to buy by name and then the website tells you if it has micro-plastics in it or not. It works the same but the website also contains a lot of extra information on micro-plastics.
You probably think: ‘But if it has a bar code on the products, that means it is not zero waste?’. Yes, that’s right. And so, I’d want to urgently tell you: I am not advising you to buy cosmetics in plastic. If you have a zero waste option available I would always suggest you choose that. But be aware: even zero waste products can contains micro-plastics. With this app you can also check those products. And also: zero waste is not always an option for everyone. But now, am option free of micro-plastics is!
Do you use the app: Beat the Microbead?