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Scrub Up
September 2013
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Cleaning the Environment a Step at a Time

washing-handsUnilever, one of the world’s largest consumer product companies, which makes Vaseline and Dove soaps, is doing away with a longtime manufacturing process because scientists and environmental groups are concerned that it contributes to polluting oceans. The company has decided to phase out the use of plastic micro-beads as a scrubbing agent in all personal care products by 2015.

Small pieces of plastic material under five millimeters in diameter, referred to as micro-plastics, originate from a variety of different sources, including the breakdown of larger plastic materials in the water, the shedding of synthetic fibers from textiles during domestic clothes washing, and the micro-beads used for their abrasive properties in a range of consumer and industrial products.