Good question, and one we all should be asking. This is why we are adamant that we should all be informed consumers. Read your labels. Know your ingredients. Do a little digging.
Hillary Rosner, a freelance journalist and Knight Science Journalism Fellow with a degree in Environmental Studies did a little digging back in 2008, when she wrote this article for Slate, an online daily news magazine. Never heard of Slate? That's OK, until recently, neither had I. When a friend pointed me in the direction of that article, I took a look around, and it turns out that Slate is not exactly a fly-by-night operation. It's not some wacky extremist group with faulty research and questionable results. Oh, no. It's a multi-award-winning publication that's existed since 1996 and is owned by The Washington Post Company.
In doing her digging, Ms. Rosner found that many big-brand companies are using polyethylene as an exfoliating ingredient in their cleansers.
So what's polyethylene? It's plastic. Tiny plastic microbeads that make nifty exfoliants... which then wash down the drain and into the oceans.
Plastic, as we know, does not biodegrade. And these beads are so tiny that it's incredibly easy for them to end up in the stomachs of marine life, as Ms. Rosner says, "from otters to octopi." It actually occupies the same size range as sand grains and plankton, so it's available for ingestion to invertebrates, which are near the bottom of the marine food chain. In addition, polyethylene transports phenanthrene, a dangerous ocean pollutant.
And the amount of microplastic in the oceans has been increasing. Increasing.
Natural exfoliants, of course! Sugar, salt, ground almonds, ground beans, seeds, and buds... the sorts of things we use in our Reef Botanicals sugar and salt scrubs, soaps, and facial scrubs.
We are committed to doing our best for the environment where we can. That's why we don't wrap our soaps in plastic or cellophane; they are shipped nearly naked, with just enough paper to tell you what they are and list the ingredients for you, tied on with environmentally-friendly hemp twine.
That's why the only plastic we use is what's absolutely necessary, like for our salt and sugar scrubs, which contain liquid. And that's one of the many reasons we adhere to our commitment to use all-natural ingredients in our products. Never will plastic be an ingredient in our stuff, no matter how inexpensive or convenient it is.