The Story of Stuff Project community helped pass federal legislation to get polluting microbeads off store shelves.
What are microbeads?
Microplastics may be small, but they cause big problems for our environment and our health. Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic that were commonly used in personal care products like face washes, beauty creams, even toothpaste! When used as designed, microbeads were going down the drain and into our lakes, rivers, and oceans by the billions. These tiny plastic beads absorb toxins in the water, get eaten by marine life, and can make their way up the food chain – all the way to our dinner plates. For all those reasons, we knew that microbeads had to go – so our Community took up the fight.
We knew it wasn’t enough to simply avoid certain products – we needed to prevent them from being sold in the first place. That’s why the Story of Stuff Project waged a major campaign to ban microbeads – first in California, and then across the whole United States with the passage of the 2015 Microbeads Free Waters Act!
Thanks to our Community members flexing their citizen muscles, it is now illegal to sell personal care products containing plastic microbeads in the United States – a huge victory for our waterways and public health. This policy also provided a model for the rest of the world to replicate. Following the ban in the United States, other countries including Canada, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, India, and more have banned microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products.