In March 2020, Ethical Consumer searched Green People’s website for the company's policy on the use of microplastics and non-biodegradable liquid polymers. Green People provided a January 2018 blog post, advising readers on which plastic ingredients to avoid. The website also stated “Green People has never used microbeads in any product and uses gentle, natural ingredients”. No other information was found about other microplastics or non-biodegradable liquid polymers. However, Green People contacted us and said:
"We have been a leading company in the campaign to ban all forms of plastics from cosmetic formulations. We have been a signatory and supporter of the Ban the Microbead campaign for many years and have products listed on their Green List - some of our products also carry the 'Look for the Zero' symbol where relevant, i.e. in products designed to be used as exfoliators.
We see that your criteria looked for the use of microbeads and liquid plastic polymers - Green People have never used any or either of these two ingredient classes in our 23 year history."
According to Beat the Microbead, there are more than 500 known microplastics ingredients that can be found in our personal care products such as toothpastes, face washes, scrubs and shower gels. They are tiny plastic particles that are added for their exfoliating properties, but sometimes purely for aesthetic purposes only.
A recent report by Code Check found that non-biodegradable liquid polymers were also prevalent across a wide range of cosmetic products. Like microplastics, these materials degrade with a similar difficulty in the environment and may cause similar harm.
In 2018, the UK government banned the use of microbeads in toothpastes, shower gels and facial scrubs. However, some products classified as “leave on” were not subject to the ban, this would include lotions, sun cream and makeup, as well as abrasive cleaning products. This ban did not extend to non-biodegradable liquid polymers.
As the company stated it did not use any microplastics or non-biodegradable liquid polymer in its products, this reference is for information only.