Why a refreshing shower might come back to haunt you

Solo Expenses Giving Back blogger Ron Banks always tells us he doesn’t care for politics, so we could hardly believe it when we heard that he was offering three cheers for the Government. What had caused this apparent change of heart? Legislation to stop us all polluting the oceans by cleaning ourselves and our homes, apparently. When we heard what he had to say, we offered three cheers too. Ron explains what made him so happy, and why you should be too…

Call me an old cynic, but I don’t often find myself ready to applaud and shout ‘well done’ at the actions of a politician – but in the case of Andrea Leadsom, I’m pleased to make an exception.

What’s brought on this unusual bout of bonhomie towards the Environment Secretary?  Her announcement that plastic microbeads are to be banned, preventing all of us from polluting the world’s oceans, that’s what.

What’s that, I hear you say? You’re not polluting the oceans? I fear you might well be, without knowing it. That’s because the people who supply us with many brands of exfoliating shower gel, toothpastes, and other household cleaners rely on tiny grains of plastic incorporated in the product to help with the cleaning process. Those scraps of plastic run down the drain and into the sea, where they get into the food chain because they’re eaten by small animals, then bigger animals, and finally by us, when they appear in that otherwise healthy fish dish you chose for dinner. That refreshing shower really would have come back to haunt you…

Cleaning by polluting
It’s a strange thought, isn’t it, that we’re getting clean by polluting the oceans? But, as far as plastic microbeads in the UK are concerned, that’s all going to end in the next few years.

Mrs Leadsom says: “Most people would be dismayed to know the face scrub or toothpaste they use was causing irreversible damage to the environment, with billions of indigestible plastic pieces poisoning sea creatures.

“Adding plastic to products like face washes and body scrubs is wholly unnecessary, when harmless alternatives can be used.” Well, good on you, Mrs Leadsom. I was dismayed when I found out what was going on, and I’ve started reading labels much more closely as a result. And I should think the Solo Expenses adopted dolphin Hope would be cheered by the news too, if we were able to explain it to her.

The thing is, we can achieve the same cleansing effect by using other abrasives.

Let’s take the nutty option
The possibilities offered by nut shells, salt and sugar as being explored, all of which have a less devastating impact on the planet.

Already 25 UK cosmetics companies, including the mighty Unilever, have taken voluntary steps to phase out microbeads. Waitrose banned microbead products from their shelves in September 2016, and the law could be changed as early as next year.

The damage we’ve been doing probably won’t affect me in the long term (it’s an age thing), but I have grandchildren whose lives will be shaped by the way we treat the planet. That’s why I’m happy to offer three cheers for Mrs Leadsom, and why you should be too.

Picture: David Molina | Dreamstime