Before the advent of the microplastics application in cosmetics, natural elements were used to pursue similar goal (just bear in mind apricot shells or jojoba beans) but several alternatives have been considered in all industrial markets:
- Cellulose and derivatives
- Starch based system
- Natural based modified polymers
- Clay based particles
Let’s take Cellulose as example: it’s the material that forms the tough fibres found in wood and plants.
The process for making it usable as microplastic components, is the dissolution of the cellulose to reform it into tiny beads by forming droplets that are then “set”. These microbeads are now robust enough to remain stable in a bodywash, but can be broken down by organisms at the sewage treatment works, or even in the environment in a short period of time.
It should be borne in mind that, not all the cosmetics products can be re-formulated so as to exclude microplastics from their components; actually, microplastics can be replaced in the rinse-off products but not in the leave-on ones.
How can we make sustainability real?