‘Beat the Microbead’ goes global - Stichting De Noordzee

Scherm2Dutch campaign ‘Beat the Microbead’ resonates globally
Jamaica, 4 October 2013 – Today marks the launch of the international version of the ‘Beat the Microbead’ App. The originally Dutch App offers consumers information about the presence of plastic microbeads in personal care products and aims to make the eco-friendly minded consumer more aware of their purchasing behaviour. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) commissioned an international and multiplatform version of the already existing Dutch iOS App earlier this year. Maria Westerbos and Jeroen Dagevos, of the Plastic Soup Foundation and the North Sea Foundation respectively, presented the international version of the App ‘Beat the Microbead’ during the GLOC-2 conference of the UNEP today.
This App can scan the barcode of a personal care product and tell the consumer whether or not the product contains plastic microbeads. Products are divided into the categories Red, Orange and Green. Red: the product contains microbeads; Orange: the product contains microbeads but the manufacturer has pledged to stop using microbeads in the near future; Green, the product does not contain microbeads.
The project is financially backed by the UNEP and UK-based NGO Fauna & Flora International (FFI) who have recently launched the Good Scrub Guide which addresses the use of plastic microbeads in products that are available on the UK market. The international Beat the Microbead App is available for free and in five languages starting today.
SchermMaria Westerbos: “In theory, the App will be available for use in every country across the world but that is only if local NGOs will supply lists with personal care products containing plastic microbeads. The United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Hong Kong and Canada are already doing this. Recently, NGOs from Brazil, Sweden and New Zealand have joined up as well. We are expecting a lot of positive reactions and are expecting the App to spread like wildfire across the globe. It has become clear that the App is especially popular with consumers who want their products to degrade in a natural and eco-friendly manner.”
Jeroen Dagevos: “Plastic only breaks down partially and leaves little pieces of plastic called microbeads. The worst part, water treatment plants are unable to filter these microbeads completely and thus directly influence the plastic soup that threatens the oceans. The ‘Beat the Microbead’ App is the product of successful cooperation between more than 30 NGOs and faces the problem, that starts in your own bathroom, head-on.
Westerbos: “Yes, because who wants to wash his hair or teeth with plastic. Nobody, right?”
The App is available for download at www.beatthemicrobead.org. This website also contains background information.