Microbeads are evil

29 09 2013

I wish there was an easier way to share this info, but it seems I can’t. All of this is taken from the 5 Gyres website (http://5gyres.org/how_to_get_involved/campaigns/):

Did you know that in the past decade, more and more personal care products sold in The United States and around the world contain micro-plastic particle abrasives employed as an exfoliant? We think this is one of the most egregious sources of plastic pollution because this plastic is actually designed to be washed down the drain.


  • Retailers to STOP selling consumer products that contain micro-plastics and micro-beads.
  • Manufactures to STOP using micro-plastics and micro-beads in consumer products worldwide and switch to organic materials that have the same performance attributes, but do not pollute the environment.
  • Consumers to check their products for plastic content and REFUSE to purchase them.
  • Legislators to execute a ban on micro-plastics and micro-beads in consumer products.

Why We Hate Micro-Beads

Analyzing facial cleanser products, 5 Gyres estimates that a single product can contain over 300,000 of these beads! In samples taken from our expedition to The Great Lakes in 2012 we found these beads, in some cases numbering more than 600,000 per square kilometer! This is unacceptable.

The issue is that after use, micro-beads travel through the sewage system. Many municipal waste treatment plants will occasionally divert wastewater directly into local rivers during heavy rain, which puts micro-beads directly into the environment. There also exists scientific evidence that micro-plastics are escaping through sewage treatment as well. 5 Gyres is examining sewage effluent to bolster this evidence. In the case of septic tanks micro-beads will eventually escape and be introduced directly to the environment.


1. Products like facial scrubs, soaps and toothpaste contain thousands of polyethylene and polypropylene micro-plastic particles, ranging from 50-500 microns, or ½ mm in diameter.

2. Some products can have between 1-5% micro-beads.

3. One product, Neutrogena’s “Deep Clean”, contained an estimated 360,000 micro-beads in one tube.

4. These micro-beads do not embrace the “Cradle to Cradle” philosophy at all. They are not recoverable, and are not benign in the environment. They are designed to wash down the drain and into the environment.

5. Many sewage treatment facilities do not capture synthetic, floating particles the size of micro-beads, and during rainy days some treatment facilities let sewage overflow go right into our waterways.

6. Micro-plastics are persistent organic compounds that attract other pollutants in the environment, like DDT, PCBs, flame-retardants, and other industrial chemicals.

7. Micro-plastics, including micro-beads, have been found floating in America’s waters, as evidenced by our findings in The Great Lakes during our 2012 expedition.

8. Micro-plastic particles have been found in fish, marine mammals and reptiles, and in the digestive and circulatory systems of mussels and worms.

9. Fish that humans harvest have been known to eat micro-plastic particles.

David Suzuki’s Queen of Green

10 05 2013

I’ve been trying to do make my own products instead of buying ones in the store filled with chemicals and things I can’t even pronounce. Making your own stuff, like soap, for instance, is cheap, easy, and really fun. On David Suzuki’s website, there’s a blog called Queen of Green, which has short news articles, tips, information, and recipes to make your own… whatever, really. From soap to deodorant to toothpaste, the Queen of Green is a reliable place to start looking for stuff you might want to create at home.

I’m itching to make more of my own soap sometime, but I’d also like to try my hand at dish soap and toothpaste as well. What are you all interested in making?


Slow Death by Rubber Duck — Rick Smith & Bruce Lourie

1 05 2013

While I’m sort of on a roll, posting about green/eco/environmental things, I finished reading Slow Death by Rubber Duck yesterday. And man, is it an informative book.

The book takes a look at the many toxic substances people expose themselves to through everyday things such as personal care products, food, and even something as simple as sitting on your fire retardant-covered couch. At the same time, the two authors, Smith and Lourie, douse themselves (willingly, I might add) with these everyday things to measure their levels of these chemicals before and after exposure. The results are astounding, to say the least.

While reading, I got a large sense of paranoia about everything I touch, everything come into contact with. There’s an extremely summary and helpful hints at what to do as a next step that I will need to re-read and take note of. There are a whole bunch of organizations and groups involved in either the banning/regulation of these toxic chemicals or that provide people with ways to live healthier and cleaner (there are too many to list but I may go into them in detail individually). Anyway, enjoy my fat body as seen through my crappy webcam.


Norman the cat, Eco-warrior

25 01 2013

I was surprised at how well-made this video is.  It’s funny, clever, and has a great message.

If only we could all be like Norman.


I’m filled with being green(er)

31 03 2012

Just finished watching a documentary called The Light Bulb Conspiracy, about planned obsolescence of goods.  I’m now filled with ideas on how to make my workplace greener, more environmentally-friendly, and produce less waste.  Perhaps I shall bring all this up at the next staff meeting.

Saturday Morning Documentary: If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

20 03 2012

When I hear the term “eco-terrorism”, I can’t help but laugh.  It’s a word that seems like such an oxymoron that I don’t take it seriously because the meanest thing I have seen environmental protesters do is to block roads by sitting on them, or chaining themselves to trees so prevent them from being cut down.  This eco-terrorism is nothing compared to, for example, the terrorists connected to 9/11.  Right?

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front is a documentary by Marshall Curry (who also did the fantastic documentary Street Fight) which examines a so-called eco-terrorist group called the ELF.  Founded in Eugene, Oregon, the film follows one of the ex-members, Daniel McGowen, as he first waits out his home arrest time and then his legal proceedings.  From there, Curry intersperses interviews with McGowen and a few other ex-members of the ELF about the beginnings of the group, and some of their plans, including the arson of a slaughterhouse for horses.  A lot of people on the boards on imdb have commented how remarkably balanced the film is: it also features interviews of the company owners of the burned buildings, an ex-police chief who had to deal with “violent” protesters, which is cleverly juxtaposed with archival footage of police beating and attacking quite peaceful protesters, including deliberately pepperspraying some people simply doing a sit-in.  “You can’t help but take it personal when someone throws a rock at you,” says the police chief, as the officers smear pepperspray into screaming protesters– both in pain, and at the authorities for doing such an unwarranted act.  Through explanations as to why the ELF began doing the things they did, mainly out of frustration that nothing was being done through the peaceful ways they had always been doing, the film really does a good job at creating sympathy then for McGowen and the possibility that he will spend the rest of his life not just in jail, but in a special jail created for terrorists (created after 9/11).

There are some very affecting moments in the film, and I do wish that this film was more widely known/distributed.  It did manage to get nominated for Best Documentary at the Oscars, which always helps. I think Curry knows what a good documentary is all about, and I wouldn’t doubt that he’ll get his Oscar one of these days.  Though not a flawless film, If a Tree Falls handles a tricky and controversial subject that, ultimately, has its roots in something deeper: as Daniel McGowen puts it in the film, if no one hears you screaming, what’re you supposed to do?

The ELF graffiti some words after an arson.