Good news from the UK today! They have announced the banning of manufacturing products containing microbeads in the UK today, and a ban on selling them this July. This is great news, and we fully support it. We suggest people stop buying these products NOW, and look for alternatives.
– Make own versions (using bicarb and salt for whitening toothpaste; salt and sugar in facial scrubs, etc – there are many recipes around. Even better, you know what’s going into them!)
– Look for eco versions; for example, products which use crushed oyster shells instead of plastic beads
At the same time, we would like to see the States debate policies over the sale and use of single-use plastics, and look to implementing a ban on selling at least some of them (eg, straws and cutlery) and, over the next two years, all of them.
This would need to be accompanied by education (eg, of what alternatives there are) and a GST break on products such as ‘polythene/plastic-like’ bags and cutlery which are made from cellulose and or bamboo from sustainable sources.
We also need more awareness (promoted by the States) of how important it is to reuse goods such as carrier bags that are already in circulation and clothes (many of them break down into tiny, harmful plastic fibres when washed/dumped), and maybe promote a deposit scheme with plastic bottles (and promote the use of reusable ones in preference).
On the subject of plastic bottles and water, many people buy them here because our own drinking water is too high in nitrates (which can’t be removed with simple Brita filters), so they are not inclined to fill up their own reusable bottles instead. Here we need a comprehensive, ongoing policy which starts with what we put in our soils.