What you should know about the plastic soup and what you can do about it

by Feb 22, 2019

Most of the plastic rubbish ends up in the ocean. The amount of plastic rubbish increases from year to year. This plastic comes from plastic bottles, plastic bags, fishnets but also from washing synthetic clothes, brushing your teeth and other beauty products. These last three things are tiny bits of plastics and are called Microbeads or Microplastics. And that’s what this blog post is about.

To be honest; I figured all this out about the plastic soup when I bought the Clinique Take the day off balm and did some research. I found a Dutch blog post that explained more about the ingredients and the microbeads in this product. After that, I did some more research about the plastic soup and it was really an eyeopener to me about what is going on in the world when it comes to the environment.

What is the plastic soup?

Let’s start at the beginning. What is the Plastic Soup exactly? It is the term referring to the pollution of the sea by plastics. This is caused by all sorts of plastics that ends up in the ocean we throw away on the streets. Not only the plastic bottles or bags but also fishnets and beauty products. All these sorts of plastics form the Plastic Soup in the oceans.

The weathering, sunlight and wind action breaks the bigger plastics down into smaller pieces. These smaller pieces can release toxic substances. All sorts of animals that live in the sea or live from the sea mistake these small plastic pieces for real food. That’s how these toxic substances enter our food chain. Not only is it toxic for our health, it is also toxic for all the animals that live in or from the sea. Millions of animals get killed because of the plastic soup. They get poisoned or they choke in plastic objects.


Microplastics and microbeads

When you think of plastic you might probably think of all things plastic you can actually see. Like bottles, bags or caps etc. Besides those things, there are also tiny bits of plastics that are smaller than  5 millimeters. These are called microplastics and in the beauty industry it is called microbeads. These tiny pieces of plastic are processed in shampoo, make-up products, moisturizers, sunburn products and scrubs.

Microplastics are hard or not at all to see with the naked eye. It enters the environment through our sewer system while we take a shower. Sewage treatment plants are not built to filter the microbeads out of the system and that is the number one reason that microbeads contribute to the plastic soup. Sea animals consume these microbeads and that’s how it eventually ends up on our plate. Microbeads and microplastics don’t dissolve and once it is in our environment it is hard to get it out.

No water, no life, no blue, no green

What can you do about it as a beauty lover?

We know that we actually have to use less plastic products. But, since we can’t see the microbeads that we actually use during our selfcare treatment we are not aware of the fact that this also contributes to the plastic soup. As a beauty lover you can pay attention to the ingredients in the products you buy. There is also an app named ‘Plastics!’. This app is able to scan the barcode of the product you want more information about and shows (if available) if the product contains microbeads. There are lots of products that are not registered in the app. Therefore, you can read the ingredient list and see if one of below substances are used in the product:

  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Nylon (PA)
  • Teflon (PTFE)
  • Plexiglass (PMMA)
  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

If you accidentally buy a product that contains plastic you can take it off with a wipe instead of washing it off. This way it won’t end up in the sewer system. This is how I’m using the Clinique take the day off balm.

To completely avoid buying products with microbeads or plastics you can decide to only buy natural products. There are also quality marks for brands that not use plastics in their products.

I am paying more attention to microbeads and microplastics in my products and hope that there will be a worldwide ban for this.

Did you know about microbeads and microplastics? Are you going to pay more attention to it?

‘till next time!

~ Ashley Sharon


  1. Katy

    Brilliant article and so relevant at the moment, more people need to understand the impact of plastic usage an wastage.

  2. Kelly

    Great post! Its so good to raise awareness on things like this. I find the EWG site Skin Deep really helpful too 🙂


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