I want plastic
off my face

And out of our waterways

Did you know that in the past decade, more and more personal care products sold in around the world contain micro-plastic particles employed as exfoliants? These tiny plastic beads are washed directly down the drain and into our water systems, where they harm our waterways and the animals that live there. We think this is one of the most egregious sources of plastic pollution, and need your help to ban these products from commerce completely

What are we asking?

  • Retailers to STOP selling consumer products that contain plastic microbeads.
  • Manufactures to STOP using plastic microbeads in consumer products worldwide and switch to nature made, organic materials that do not pollute the environment.
  • Citizens to check product labels for plastic content and REFUSE to purchase them.
  • Legislators to execute a ban on microbeads in consumer products.

Microbeads Closeupmicrobeadpic

Together with our Global Partners, Plastic Free Seas (Hong Kong) (Plasticfreeseas.org) and The Plastic Soup Foundation (Netherlands) (plasticsoupfoundation.org) it’s our goal to eliminate this plastic from all consumer products by demanding that companies cease using them in their products.


Help keep plastic microbeads out of our personal care products and from polluting our waters. Please sign the national Ban The Bead petition.

Sign the Petition



The Problem with Microbeads

In 2012, The 5 Gyres Institute researched The Great Lakes for plastic pollution, finding high numbers of plastic microbeads in samples from Lake Erie, in some cases numbering more than 450,000 per square kilometer. In analyzing facial cleansers, we estimate that a single tube of product can contain over 300,000 of these beads. They are too small to be filtered out by many municipal wastewater treatment plants, and can wash directly into our fresh water systems. Many treatment plants divert wastewater directly into local rivers during heavy rain, which puts micro-beads directly into the environment.

Microplastic particles are found in all oceanic gyres, bays, gulfs and seas worldwide. Once in the environment, microplastics absorb persistent organic pollutants, and are consumed by a variety of marine life, including the fish we harvest for food.

The good news: this is a solvable issue. Natural alternatives such as apricot kernel shells and jojoba beads are commonly used by many brands We are confident that the scientific evidence of micro-plastics and micro-beads in the environment and a targeted, grassroots public awareness campaign will convince industry to end the use of micro-plastics in consumer products worldwide and switch to available alternatives. That, in short is the goal of the campaign.


Talking Points

  1. Products like facial scrubs, soaps and toothpaste contain thousands of polyethylene and polypropylene microbeads, ranging from 50-500 microns, or ½ mm in diameter.
  2. Some products can have between 1-5% microbeads.
  3. One product, Neutrogena’s “Deep Clean”, contained an estimated 360,000 microbeads in a single tube.
  4. Plastic microbeads do not embrace the “Cradle to Cradle” philosophy. They are not recoverable, designed to wash down the drain and into the environment, where they are harmful rather than benign.
  5. Many sewage treatment facilities do not capture synthetic, floating particles the size of microbeads, and during rainy days some treatment facilities let sewage overflow go right into our waterways.