US Congress Vote to Ban Microbead Hygiene Products

US Congress Vote to Ban Microbead Hygiene Products

NorthPacificGyrePlastic microbeads, typically under 5mm in size, proliferate in numerous everyday hygiene products that we use. Once flushed into our drainage system, they eventually end up in our freshwater catchment areas or oceans, and become part of our ecosystem and food chain. As plastics are not biodegradable, they lifespan endangers not only this generation but future eras of our precious world.

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Simply stated, our throw-away habits are polluting our food supply. And it won’t get any better until we change. Practice any or all of the following five quick and easy ways to reduce the amount of plastic that makes its way to the ocean:

Double-check the plastic RECYCLING guidelines in your area. Most types of plastic can be recycled—water bottles; yogurt cups; milk containers; cereal box liners; the stiff plastic packaging we fight to remove from items; shrink wrap; meat trays, etc.

In restaurants, ask for your leftovers in boxes or wrapped in foil. REFUSE Styrofoam products. Better yet, bring your own container to cart leftovers home. Also, REFUSE a straw when you order a drink.

REDUCE your single-use plastic consumption by using bar soaps packaged in cardboard or paper instead of liquid soaps that come in plastic bottles, or buy liquid soap in bulk and reuse containers. Whenever you shop, seek out packaging made of compostable material rather than plastic, which is nearly indestructible.

Bring REUSEABLE bags to the grocery store. Because they’re easy to forget when rushing out the door, always keep one or two small ones in your purse or backpack.

Cut down on those plastic coffee cup lids by bringing a REUSABLE travel mug for your favorite barista to fill. And for water, bring your own bottle filled from the tap.

And don’t forget about microbeads, tiny plastic beads found in a variety of products that look like fish food. Avoid facial scrubs, soaps and toothpaste with the tiny polyethylene and polypropylene microbeads, which escape water treatment facilities to enter our waterways. If you must exfoliate, look for products that use non-plastic alternatives such as apricot kernel shells and jojoba beads.

Credit: Ocean Portal, Smithsonian Institute