Is your scrub fish-friendly?

Next Monday (8th June) is World Oceans Day - and the above is not a trick question: many body and facial scrubs contain 'microbeads' - tiny plastic particles (often created out of 'natural' ingredients, NB). They're great for buffing skin - but not so good for marine life. These microscopic particles of plastic end up in the waste water system and ultimately make their way to the sea or into lakes, where they can be ingested by fish and make their way up the food chain.

A study published in Scientific American by State University of New York at Fredonia measured the plastic pollution in three of the great lakes (Huron, Erie and Superior), and found between 1,5000 to 1.7 million micro-plastic beads per square mile of water. (What's more, because these ingredients are 'plasticised', they stay in the environment for upwards of 50 years.) And Neal's Yard Remedies - which offers microbead-free scrubs - tell us that 36% of fish caught off the English coast contained microbeads, according to a Plymouth University study.

The best guide we've found to non-plastic scrubs is actually Australian, available here via the Flora & Fauna International website - but it's a good place to start, if this concerns you. (And it sure does us.) Sugar and salt-based scrubs are usually fine, as are those with nut particles - but we don't always love those, especially for faces (never, never!) as they're so abrasive. (It talks about an App but we haven't been able to find that yet.)

All of the Neal's Yard Remedies scrubs are 100% biodegradable and microbead-free. And Honey & Orange Face Scrub (£16 for 75 g), Seaweed Salt Scrub (£18.50 for 200 g) and Pumice Foot Scrub (£15 for 75 g) all mean your conscience can be as clean as your skin...

Neals Yard World Oceans Day