The Beat the Microbead app uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. The app is recognizing text characters from the taken picture and then cross-matches them in real-time with our lists of microplastics. Therefore, the accuracy of the results can vary depending on the quality of the picture and its correct positioning under the camera frame. Please note, if the entire ingredients list printed on a product is not under the camera frame the results will not be conclusive.
The Beat the Microbead app assesses products following a traffic light rating system: Red, Orange, and Green. Please find the explanations and source of these categories below:
RED: Products that are assessed to be in this color category contain microplastics. Our list of microplastics is derived from the research done by UNEP, Tauw, and ECHA (see ANNEX to the ANNEX XV RESTRICTION REPORT, PROPOSAL FOR A RESTRICTION, p 273).
ORANGE: Products that are assessed to be in this color category contain what we call “sceptical” microplastics. These include but are not limited to Polyquaternium, Polysorbate, PEGs, and PPGs. By “sceptical microplastic” ingredients we mean synthetic polymers for which there is not enough information available concerning its persistency/biodegradability.
PEGs and PPGs are polymers of ethylene oxide and propylene glycol respectively. The persistence/biodegradability of PEGs and PPGs is rather debated as it depends on the different chain lengths these polymers may have. For this reason, all PEGs and PPGs will be included in our orange list until further scientific proof is available.
We call upon the cosmetics industry to prove that the ingredients under this category are not persistent and biodegradable.
*The orange color category is a dynamic list of sceptical ingredients. We keep adding suspicious ingredients to it and taking out the ones which are proven to be non-persistent and biodegradable according to the ECHA biodegradation OECD and ISO criteria.
GREEN: Products that are assessed to be in this category do not contain any known microplastics or “sceptical” microplastics. However, brands on this list might not have their entire range of products free of all possible microplastic ingredients.
ZERO: Brands on this list have their entire range of products free of all known microplastic ingredients. The brands on this list carry the “Zero Plastic Inside” certification logo because they have publicly declared that their products are totally free of microplastic ingredients.
In addition to checking all the products of a brand, we ask the companies on this list to sign the following statement: “We as a producer declare that all of our products from the brand […] are 100% microplastic free.”