The only thoughts that I had previously put into my facial scrub was to make sure that I applied it on my face in circular motions, before gently rinsing it off of my face. This, as we're told, is good for exfoliating the skin and removing those pesky dead skin cells, leaving you feeling 'refreshed and new'.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the environment, which comes off a little worse for wear. Why is this?
It turns out that the 'scrub' in your facial scrub is actually made of plastic. Those tiny plastic microbeads range from the size of 0.0004 to 1.24 millimeters, which is where the problem begins. Due to their size, microbeads cannot be filtered out and thus, make their way into our waterways.
According to a paper published in 'Marine Pollution Bulletin' in December 2013, the Great Lakes of North America were being chocked with microbeads. Lake Michigan was found to have an average of 17,000 beads per square kilometre while some areas of Lake Ontario contains up to 1.1 million microbeads per square kilometres.
As a result of this study, Illinois, a state in the US, has become the first in the world to ban plastic microbeads, with the use of the beads to be phased out by 2019. Reportedly California and New York are considering a similar decision, with the Netherlands proposing a ban for Europe.
You, too, can make a difference. Head over to 5 Gyres, who are running a campaign to stop the selling of products that contain microbeads. Sign their petition and learn how else you can get involved with 'banning the bead'.