Beat the Bead Launches 'Look for the Zero'

Plastic ingredients are applied in a variety of leave-on and rinse-off formulations such as: deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lipstick, hair colouring, shaving cream, sunscreen, insect repellent, anti-wrinkle creams, moisturizers, hair spray, facial masks, baby care products, eye shadow, mascara etc.* 

"Are we polluting the environment through our personal care?"

Whether we call them microplastics, microspheres, nanospheres or plastic particulates, a 2015 report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says we most certainly are. 

That's why the international Beat the Microbead campaign has launched a new initiative: ‘Look for the Zero,' which asks consumers to only buy 100 percent microplastic-free personal care products.

The objective of the campaign is to prevent plastic microbeads in personal care products from ending up in the sea. A Beat the Microbead app makes it easy to check whether a product contains plastic.

"Recent research shows that many more types of plastics are added to personal care products than previously thought," according to Janna Selier, Beat the Microbead coordinator for the Plastic Soup Foundation, its parent organization based in Amsterdam. "It also shows that some plastic microbeads are replaced with bio-based microbeads which do not break down in water. On top of this, increase in the use of nanoplastics in cosmetics is a worrying development," Selier cautions.

That is why the burden of proof has to be on the manufacturers of personal care products. "We are asking producers to declare their personal care products free of microplastics. This claim must be checked in each country."

Plastic-free products will be included in the new Zero category of the Beat the Microbead website and app. The brands that do not use microplastics may carry the ‘Zero Plastic Inside’ logo. "In one glance, this logo makes it clear for consumers that a product is guaranteed 100 percent free of microplastics."

There will be a ‘ZERO’ list added to the ‘RED’, ‘ORANGE’ and ‘GREEN’ lists on the Beat the Microbead website and app. The products on the ‘ZERO’ list are personal care products whose contents are 100 percent microplastic free. Producers themselves declare that their products are plastic free and they send the list of ingredients for checking. 

The Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza is the first to carry the Zero logo on all the personal care products of their house-brand Botanique.  

The Beat the Microbead coalition, which began in 2012, now comprises 79 NGOs in 35 countries. Find out more about the "Look for the Zero' campaign on their website.

Plastic in Cosmetics

Read the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 2015 report*