Are there microplastics in my shower gel?

Did you know that many products contain mini pieces of plastic? You will find them in care products, soaps, toothpaste and much more… These plastic particles of approximately one millimeter are called microbeads. The granules can easily go through the sewage, which makes them very harmful to the environment.

You can do your own research into the presence of microbeads, in the classroom or at home. How does it work?

Ask the students to each bring a product from home or purchase a number of products, such as toothpaste, cleaning agent, soap, mascara, etc. On the label of the product, you can see if there are plastics present. This is usually under the name of polyethylene, polypropylene or polystyrene.

You will also need:

  • Tablespoon
  • Coffee pot
  • Coffee filter holder
  • Multiple coffee filters
  • 2 glass jugs
  • Boiled water
You can conduct an investigation for the presence of microbeads by means of the following steps:
  • You mix a large spoon of the care product in the hot water in the heat-resistant pitcher. Stir the mixture until it is completely dissolved.
  • After this, place the coffee filter open in the coffee filter holder
  • Then pour the liquid into the coffee pot
  • Do you see speckles? These are microbeads. Use a new coffee filter with every care product so that you can clearly see the number of micro-grains.

An additional tool to check whether you are buying a product without plastics is: Beat the Microbead. This app is free to download. You scan the product and then see whether microbeads have been processed in the product.