Plastic microbeads were banned in shower gels and toothpaste in the United Kingdom
last year, but they could still be hidden in your sunscreen or lipstick.
Now, the start up Naturbeads, in collaboration with the University of Bath, is working
with several companies to replace the microplastics present in these products with
biodegradable microbeads of cellulosic origin.
It is estimated that 30,000 tons of microplastics contained in consumer products end up
in the oceans every year. This is equivalent to three times the Great Pacific Garbage
Island, or the plastic pollution generated by 5 billion disposable bottles.
Some of these microplastics are consumed by marine life, passing through the food
chain and ending in our own dishes.
The technology to create cellulose microbeads was developed at the University of Bath
by professors Janet Scott and Davide Mattia of the Center for Sustainable Chemical
Technologies in 2017.
Naturbeads has now received funding from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
and Sky Ocean Ventures (SOV), through the Plastic Research and Innovation Fund.
The company will receive 637,000 euros to build and test a prototype for the
manufacture of cellulose microbeads used in cosmetic and personal care products.
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