We can’t see them but they are a big danger for animals, humans and the environment: microplastic particles. These tiny plastic particles are in almost every conventional beauty product.
More and more plastic: According to a US study around 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced worldwide since 1950. According to estimates only 30 percent of it are still in use. The rest can be found in the waste. In Germany 5.4 kilos of microplastics per inhabitant are released into the environment each year which decomposes very slowly. Produced in seconds, degraded in decades. It takes, for example, 450 years for a PET plastic bottle and ten to twenty years for a plastic bag to decompose. For comparison: a newspaper decomposes in six weeks, an apple core in two months.
What is microplastics and where does it come from?
Unclear consequences of invisible plastic
There are currently no results for long-term research for plastics. However, the consequences for nature, marine life and ultimately for us are highly probable although the particles are hardly visible. This is precisely what makes them so dangerous. Due to their tiny size the particles can pass easily through our sewage treatment plants and end up in the ocean. Once you take a shower with a plastic-adjusted product you transport 100,000 plastic particles into the wastewater. There they are absorbed by sea dwellers in oceans and lakes and thus enter our food chain. So the next time you have an edible fish or seafood such as mussels or shrimps on your plate you may be eating your own waste. Since microplastics is a foreign particle it can cause inflammation in our bodies.
Microplastics in cosmetics: Why is it used?
Alternatives to microplastics
Of course, there are numerous "natural" alternatives to microplastics that have no devastating consequences for the environment. Certified organic skincare such as those from Santaverde do not contain any microplastics, e.g. our plant-based emulsifiers come from the seeds of the castor plant. Natural thickeners such as xanthan gum and preservatives like anise acid from star anise or basil are used alternatively. Santaverde products contain nurturing oils such as evening primrose or almond oil to leave the skin soft and smooth. Our cleansing products use mild surfactants that cleanse the skin thoroughly but gently such as natural amino acid surfactants from coconut fatty acids.
Avoiding plastic: Environmental protection starts at home
With the long INCI lists and the alphabet salad it is not so easy to recognise microplastics. Classical examples you should avoid are: acrylate, copolymer, acrylate crosspolymer, dimethicone, dimethiconol, methicone, nylon, polyamide, polyacrylate, polymethyl methacrylate, polyquaternium, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol (PEG), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polypropylene (PP), polypropylene glycol (PPG), polystyrene (PS), polyurethane (PUR), siloxane, silsesquioxane.