It’s inauguration eve, everyone! For those of you in DC, don’t go anywhere tomorrow, I hear it’s impossible. For those of you who came to DC, don’t worry, you’ll only be hanging out with tourists, so no one will judge you if you can’t figure out the lay of the land (hint: the streets named after states go diagonally!) Say hi to Barack for me.
Meanwhile, in environmental news, here’s one to put a smile on your face and add to the happiness that is every three-day weekend. Cosmetics and personal care giant Unilever announced this past week that they’ll be phasing out microplastics from their products by 2015.
Why is this awesome? Well, microplastics is a blanket name for tiny bits of plastics that end up in the natural environment. Some come as a result of the breakdown of larger plastics (including clothing with synthetic fibers), but many come from beauty products that contain tiny exfoliating beads. Not surprisingly, when you use these products, they wash down the drain, and eventually into the ocean (yes, it’s true. It might take a while if you live in Iowa, but it inevitably happens) While that may make your skin silky-smooth-y (yes, you look great) it’s bad news for the natural environment – particularly our oceans. The plastics can be ingested by small organisms and then transferred up the food chain, causing damage at every level on the way up. Bits of plastic cause physical damage to organisms that eat them as well as often leeching harmful chemicals with additional (obviously) negative impacts on marine animals.
If you’re worried about how soft and sexy your skin will be without little bits of plastic to slough off all those dead skin cells, well, don’t be. There are plenty of natural exfoliants that can be used in beauty products, including sugar, salt, other natural substances that can be ground into finer particles.