Woolworths has announced that all plastic microbeads have been removed from its private label beauty and personal care products, making it easier for consumers to avoid being part of an environmental problem that is causing worldwide concern.
The good news for those who love using face and body scrubs is that the microbeads have been replaced with biodegradable ingredients that provide the same quality of exfoliation. Currently, Woolworths has replaced microbeads with natural and biodegradable alternatives such as Jojoba Oil Beads, apricot kernels and synthetic wax beads
Microbeads are tiny, non-biodegrable plastic spheres that are widely used in face and body scrubs to deliver the exfoliating action. Barely visible to the human eye, it is the minute size of the microbead that has been well-proven to be a serious contributor to water pollution and there is urgency across the world to take quick action to eliminate them as an ingredient in beauty products.
In astronomical numbers, they flow down our sinks and baths, through sewerage systems to water treatment plants that are unable to filter them out. Ultimately, they end up as a major contributor to the toxic plastic soup in our oceans and freshwater systems, creating a great danger to marine and aquatic life.
There is no known way to remove microbeads from the ocean, and the situation has become so dire that governments such as the UK and Italy are currently drawing up legislation to ban the use of microbeads by the beauty industry in those countries.