Small plastic is a big problem.
Across the world, the issue of polluting plastic microbeads is gaining attention and we need your help to ban the bead. These tiny plastic beads, employed as exfoliants in personal care products, like body wash, cosmetics, and toothpaste, are designed to go down the drain, escape wastewater treatment and are found in lakes, rivers, and the ocean in incomprehensible quantities. We are literally plasticizing our planet!
A very conservative estimate of how prolific the problem is suggests that in North America alone, we’re discharging about 700,000 pounds (380,000 kilos) of plastic microbeads the size of a grain of sand every year! Resembling fish eggs, animals ingest these plastics that act like sponges for concentrating toxins in the waste water stream. Beyond absorbing toxins, plastic microbeads also leach their toxic ‘trade secret’ additives into the environment. After an animal ingests these poison pills, those toxins can transfer to their tissue and make it all the way to your plate through the fish you eat! The microbeads that don’t get discharged in wastewater get stuck in the solids waste from wastewater treatment which is often used as fertilizer and spread on our farm fields.
The Story of Stuff Project is calling on our Community to work together to ban products that use plastic microbeads and we’re leading the charge to get corporations to stop this practice. In the United States, we’re working in several key states and at the federal level to pass good legislation to stop pollution from plastic microbeads at the source. But industry is trying to pull a ‘bait and switch’ and supporting legislation that sounds good, but leaves a loophole for these plastic microbeads to be replaced with more plastic. Soon, this same bad legislation will be introduced in Canada, Australia and Europe, too.
We want to make sure we adopt responsible legislation and tell our elected officials loud and clear that we don’t want plastic on our face, in our teeth, on our lips, or in our sushi. It’s not just bad for the environment, it’s gross.
If there isn’t legislation where you live, you can sign a petition to tell manufacturers to stop their polluting practice. Take a minute to make a difference today and let’s secure a victory for clean water and a world with less plastic.
Stiv J. Wilson
Campaigns Director (and lead plastic microbead fighter)
The Story of Stuff Project