Microplastics, macro problems…

If you’re refilling from habit #23 then you won’t have to worry about microplastics, but if you’re not yet, you need to know about this.

Just like bottled water, microplastics are a huge environmental problem that most people either don’t know about or outright ignore.

What are microplastics?

Microplastics (aka microbeads) are tiny pieces of plastic used in personal care products. They are most often added as an abrasive to hand soaps, face cleaners, and even toothpastes to act as an exfoliant, but they can also be found in hair sprays, deodorant, eyeshadow, and more.

What’s the problem?

The main issue with microplastics is that they end up in our waterways and eventually accumulate in the food chain which we then ingest. Because microplastics are so small they are almost impossible to clean up once they are in our waterways. There are also personal health concerns with plastics being ingested directly during use, but I’m not going to be covering that here.

This graphic from beatthemircrobead.org provides a simple overview:

microbeads (microplastics) lifecycle infographic

Products that commonly have microplastics:

  • face wash
  • hand soaps
  • body wash
  • deodorants
  • hair spray
  • sunscreen
  • “scrubs”
  • shaving cream

How to avoid microplastics:

  • Check brands via the Beat The Bead list
  • Scan an item with the Beat The Microbead App
  • Reference this list of microplastics and check the ingredients of the product in question
  • Look for the “Zero Plastic Inside Logo” – companies┬ádisplaying this logo have declared all of their products are microplastic free.

zero plastic inside logo - microplastics / microbeads

Your Action Item

Learn to recognize products that contain microplastics (microbeads) and avoid them at all costs.


Learn good from bad:

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Beat The Bead

Find out if the brands / products you use have microbeads. You can also learn more about microbeads in their FAQ section.

Beat The Microbead App

Yes, of course there is an app for that! Scan a product and see if it has microbeads in it.

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