Skip to main content

Story

In July 2021, Ethical Consumer searched Amazon’s website for the company's policy on the use of microplastics and non-biodegradable liquid polymers, as the company made a number of own-brand cosmetics and personal care products. No information was found. The company had also been sent a questionnaire but no response was received.

According to Beat the Microbead, there are more than 500 known microplastics ingredients that can be found in our personal care products such as toothpastes, face washes, scrubs and shower gels. They are tiny plastic particles that are added for their exfoliating properties, but sometimes purely for aesthetic purposes only.

According to a recent report by Code Check, non-biodegradable liquid polymers were also prevalent across a wide range of cosmetic products. Like microplastics, these materials degrade with a similar difficulty in the environment and may cause similar harm.

In 2018, the UK government banned the use of microbeads in toothpastes, shower gels and facial scrubs. However, some products classified as “leave on” were not subject to the ban, this would include lotions, sun cream and makeup, as well as abrasive cleaning products. This ban did not extend to non-biodegradable liquid polymers.

Given that the company lacked a clear policy on the use of microplastics and non-biodegradable liquid polymers, it lost half a mark under Pollution and Toxics.

Reference:

Amazon US website (5 July 2021)