are one of the most important regulators of our climate: Ocean currents
act much like a conveyor belt, transporting warm water and precipitation from
the equator toward the poles and cold water from the poles back to the tropics.
This delicate equilibrium is threatened by many forces, including plastic
pollution, with at least 8 million tonnes of
discarded plastic entering our oceans each year, a figure estimated to double
by 2030. Plastic pollution in the sea is ubiquitous: It has even been
found in the deepest place on Earth
in the Mariana Trench, nearly 11 kilometres below sea level. Plastic can take hundreds of years to break down and, as it does, sunlight and heat cause it to release powerful greenhouse gases, leading to an alarming feedback loop: As our climate changes, the planet gets hotter, plastic breaks down into more methane and ethylene, increasing the rate of climate change, and so reinforcing the negative cycle.
In addition to the impact on the oceans, plastic is made from fossil fuels, with about 6 kg of carbon dioxide emitted during production and incineration of 1 kg of plastic.
Plastic microbeads are plastic particles smaller than 5mm. They are used as abrasives in detergents, exfoliants in cosmetics, binders in paints and coatings, additives in lubricants for the oil and gas industry and many more applications. Every year more than 250,000 tonnes of plastic microbeads intentionally added to consumer and industrial products end up in our oceans where they can persist for centuries contributing to plastic pollution. Because of their small dimensions, once they reach the oceans, they are impossible to remove. For this reason, they must be removed at the source.
At Naturbeads we aim to replace plastic microbeads with cellulose beads. Cellulose is a natural, abundant and renewable material. Every year the earth produces millions of tons of cellulose, and because it is what plants are made of, it is 100% biodegradable.
At Naturbeads we have developed a manufacturing process to produce at industrial scale cellulose microbeads as a drop-in replacement for plastic microbeads. Our beads can provide the same in use performance of plastic microbeads in a wide range of applications, thereby helping to prevent plastic pollution and contributing to the health of our oceans and climate.