Guide to Microplastics

Today, with the restriction proposal by the European Chemical Agency(ECHA) and the reports by UNEP and Tauw, we came up with a list of more than 500 microplastic ingredients that are widely used in cosmetics & personal care products.  

This information can be quite daunting, which is why we created four product categories: Red, Orange, Green, & Zero.  

Our focus relies on if these synthetic polymer substances are persistent, bioaccumulative, and/or toxic; if they are readily biodegradable in all environmental departments, and if they pose a risk for human health.

You can read our detailed opinion on the subject here.

Red

Products on the Red List have been found to contain synthetic polymers which are commonly considered to be microplastic ingredients. These include but are not limited to Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), Nylon (PA), Polyurethane, and Acrylates Copolymer.

Because of the extensive list of more than 500 known microplastic ingredients, we created an easy guiding list of Red Flags. This way you can quickly recognize whether there are microplastic ingredients in your products. In case of uncertainty, you can always consult our detailed Red List.

Red Flags

  • Acrylates Copolymer
  • Acrylates Crosspolymer
  • Butylene
  • Carbomer
  • Dimethicone
  • Ethylene
  • Methacrylate Copolymer
  • Methacrylate Crosspolymer
  • Methyl Methacrylate Copolymer
  • Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer
  • Nylon
  • Polyacrylamide
  • Polyacrylate 
  • Polypropylene 
  • Polyurethane 
  • Polyvinyl 
  • Propylene Copolymer or Polypropylene 
  • PVP 
  • Styrene Copolymer 
  • Tetrafluoroethylene 
  • Vinyl Acetate Copolymer 
  • VP/VA Copolymer 

 

Orange

Products on the Orange List contain synthetic polymers that we have termed as “skeptical microplastic”. These include but are not limited to poloxamer, PEGs, PPGs and (certain types of) Polyquaterniums. Also include carbon-free, soluble, and liquid polymers.

By “skeptical microplastic” ingredients we mean synthetic polymers for which there is not enough information available. Some studies indicate toxicity of these ingredients to human life, some to aquatic environments, and for others, we cannot find enough information. The information on persistency and biodegradability is particularly hard to find. Unless proven safe for the environment and human health, these polymers will remain in this category. If you have such information then contact us.

We advise on not using products that contain these skeptical microplastics as there is not yet sufficient information about their impact on human and environmental health. 

*This list will continue changing and growing according to newly conducted research. 

Green

Products on this list do not contain any microplastic or “sceptical microplastic” ingredients. 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.”