Microbead Alternatives: how has the ban affected the soap industry?

The Microbead ban, what is happening?

After January’s government ban on the manufacture of products containing microbeads, we now have the ban on the sale of these products in effect as well, preventing millions of these harmful pieces entering our oceans.

These tiny plastics are most commonly added to cosmetic products as an exfoliant, they are usually found in face scrubs, body washes and toothpastes but can be used in most makes.

Even though this is just the beginning of the effort in cleaning up our world from the plastic suffocation, it’s a great start that is being recognised globally.

What are they?

These tiny plastics are most commonly added to cosmetic products as an exfoliant, they are usually found in face scrubs, body washes and toothpastes but can be used in most makes.

These small beads do not decompose, and often slip through drainage systems and enter our oceans. Here they can transport toxic elements, or smaller sea life can dangerously mistake them for food, causing them to enter the food chain.

The Soap Kitchen has never stocked any form of plastic microbead, but we are aware some of our customers do have products that contain them, or may have not used them because they cannot find any Eco- friendly alternatives.

So, what are the alternatives?

Ground Pumice

Ground Pumice is a naturally occurring product, and is one of the best alternative to microbeads, its strong formation means it has the same effect when used in cosmetic products but it is chemically inert so will not carry the same level of toxins if it does end up in our oceans. Pumice is already being used as a successful exfoliant in many cosmetic products, so has already proven itself the natural micro-exfoliant.

Larger Natural Exfoliants

We already stock a large range of natural exfoliants of different sizes. From Ground Almond Shells to Coarse Himalayan Rock Salt our range of exfoliants should give you a great array of natural alternatives to choose from. It is worth mentioning, our peeling beads are NOT plastic, they are fine beads of natural wax.

A lot of large soap and cosmetic brands are also using naturally occurring botanicals for exfoliation. We stock a large range of dried botanicals, including seeds, powders and different sized beans, depending on what kind of exfoliation level you are after.

You may have seen recently on social media that we have a new addition to our warehouse, raspberry seed exfoliant, it’s a great product that gives gentle exfoliation and even offers a slight natural scent, something that the plastic microbead couldn’t do, another win for the alternatives!

You can view all of our exfoliants HERE and if you’re interested in our botanical range click HERE.

When it comes to choosing an exfoliant, it comes down to the desired effects of the product you are making and your own personal preference.

What is next?

Here at the Soap Kitchen we are keen supporters of the microbead ban, and also in the #plasticfree movement that is stirring in the UK. The ban came into force alongside the UK’s introduction of the 5p carrier bag charge, which has taken 9,000,000 bags out of circulation, now let’s get the next steps into motion, banning the plastic drinking straw & stirrers, cotton bud stems and the introduction of a plastic bottle return scheme, for more information on these topics head to the Greenpeace website: https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/microbeads-we-won/

If you have any comments about how the ban has affected you or your company we’d love to hear about it, please comment below.

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