YOU Stopped 3 Trillion Plastic Microbeads…
…from entering our watersheds ever year. Yes, YOU did this. High five!
With President Barack Obama signing The Microbead-Free Waters Act just moments ago, The Story of Stuff Community has successfully all but eliminated micro pollutants from products for sale in the personal care industry. After three years of solid campaigning, we are finally on our way to a world with less plastic.
About a month ago, I published a piece called, “Victory on Plastic Microbeads: Why What Happens In California Matters Everywhere.” And boy, oh boy, did it matter! The business of making meaningful change in the world is tricky. Often, you have to open a battlefront in a strategic location in order to affect the larger struggle. For most of 2015, I was coordinating microbead ban legislation all over the U.S. and Canada, while working in the trenches in our home state of California. What many members of our Community didn’t know was that the personal care products industry was pushing their own bills in several other areas across The United States. At first blush, these policies looked good—until you read the fine print. “Big Soap” was trying to pull a fast one over on all of us. In the definitions incorporated in these bills, they left an exemption for biodegradable plastic (which left a gaping loophole to allow them to continue profiting from reformulated microbeads). As we pointed out in our microbeads movie, Big Soap had come to rely on plastic as a necessary ingredient in their exfoliating products because plastic beads are smoother than natural ones. This meant that Big Soap was purposely making their products less effective so that you could use them everyday–not once a week as recommended with natural exfoliating products. In short, Big Soap built an entire buy-buy-buy business model upon the use of a polluting ingredient. And when you said HECK NO to plastic in your products, they fought back, trying to preserve the revenue these product lines generated.
We knew if we could get California, the 8th largest economy in the world, to close the loophole, that we could leverage this victory on the national front. And we did just that. In 2017, plastic microbeads will be phased out entirely from personal care products that are meant to go down the drain. BOOM!
I am so inspired and humbled by the outpouring of energy from our Story of Stuff Community that created the power we need to achieve such a stunning success. This is how we did it: we made a movie, we built our movement, and we achieved a measurable conservation outcome. Once the movie was released, and everyone began to understand how big the problem was, the Story of Stuff Community took action–district by district, state by state, country by country–calling, writing, testifying until we won. Thanks to you all, we can close the book on three years of hard work and move on to more issues we’re working solve.
We’re starting our New Year right: with a world with less plastic!
We’re taking on bottled water next. Are you in?
- Watch: the microbeads movie.
- What kind of changemaker are you? Take the quiz!
- Take action: Learn about Nestle’s operation in California, and what we did about it.