Intro to Plastic MicrobeadsPlastic microbeads appear in many single use products including cosmetics, face washes, body scrubs, exfoliants, toothpastes, laundry and dishwasher detergents. Typically made of polypropylene, polyethylene, nylon or polyethylenephthalate these each product can contain over 300,000 plastic microbeads in one container (tube, bottle, box, etc).
Measuring less than 1 millimeter in diameter the microbead is designed to last forever with an estimated life cycle of over 10,000 years. By contrast, the products that use these microbeads, such as toothpaste are used only once and designed to be washed down the drain.
What’s Next?Till March 10, 2016 Environment Canada is receiving letters from individuals and from industry stakeholders across Canada. Some stakeholders are seeking to undermine the legislation by not including detergent products like dishwasher and laundry soaps. Additionally, just like in the state of Illinois, there is a quiet movement to ensure that the current ban will not include “bio-plastics”, plastics made from plants. Bio-plastic microbeads have been found to pose the same harm, and in some cases greater harm, to humans, environment, animals and infrastructure alike. Similarly, “biodegradable” plastics are still plastics and designed to “photodegrade” or break down in sunlight. Since we know microbeads are washing down the drain and ending up in our waterways they are not able to biodegrade and, once again, pose the same risk as conventional plastics. We need to take action now to ensure these loopholes are left open in Canadian legislation. How Can I Help?You have until March 10, 2016 to make an impact on this important issue. Here is how you can get involved:Sign this online petition and ask your friends on social media to do the same. Find the full story at bit.ly/Ban_The_Bead or www.vancouver.surfrider.org