An official ban on the manufacture of products containing microbeads is set to take effect on July 1, 2017 in the United States. And with serious attention being paid to getting rid of these tiny plastic spheres in other countries, more and more manufacturers are moving toward biodegradable alternatives like walnut shells, bamboo powder and apricot shell. In fact, these ingredients show a huge increase in formulator interest over the last two years.
The data above, gathered from thousands of searches by personal care formulators in the Prospector ingredient search engine, indicates a sharp increase in interest in these three natural, biodegradable exfoliants. And while the leader in terms of formulator interest is currently apricot shell, bamboo is the most recent on the scene, jumping from almost no search data in Q2 of 2015 to falling just behind walnut shells in Q1 of 2016.
What makes these ingredients suitable replacements for polyethylene beads?
- Walnut shells, which are ground into powder for use in personal care products, are used in many fine skincare products and are known for being gentle on skin. But walnut shell powder is also extremely durable and retains its hardness in formulations.
- Bamboo powder consists of silica extracted from the bamboo plant. Like walnut shell powder, it is a very durable exfoliant. However, the granules are much smoother than those in most nut powders. Bamboo is known as a highly sustainable and eco-friendly material source.
- Apricot shell, like the above ingredients, is very stable and gentle when used in personal care products. Ground from the shell of the apricot kernel, it can be used for a wide variety of applications.
What biodegradable microbead alternatives do you currently use or have interest in using in your formulations? Let us know in the comments below.
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