Ban the Bead and Make Microplastics History

Lush Cosmetics partners with Ottawa Riverkeeper to address the global crisis of plastic pollution.


Press Release

May 25, 2015


Lush Cosmetics and Ottawa Riverkeeper—a non-profit group dedicated to protecting the health of the Ottawa River and its tributaries—have partnered up to bring awareness to the negative environmental impact of microbeads in cosmetics. Over 92 percent of the plastic in the world’s oceans is made up of microplastics and we are adding to that with unnecessary additives like microbeads and glitter that are found in many personal care products such as face and body scrubs, soaps and toothpaste. The Ottawa Riverkeeper and Lush are now working together to promote a ban on the sale and manufacturing of microbeads and microplastics in Canada as well as to provide natural alternatives to microbeads in grooming products.

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“Lush is standing with Ottawa Riverkeeper in the fight against microbeads because we are a company that cares about people, animals and the planet, and the current global plastic crisis is having detrimental effects on all of these,” says Brandi Halls, Director of Brand Communications for Lush Cosmetics North America. “We have to take a stand to protect our oceans, our waterways, and our planet.”

While many large personal care product makers have vowed to eliminate microbeads in their products, legislative loopholes exist that would allow these brands to replace traditional plastic microbeads with so-called “biodegradeable plastics.” The issue with biodegradeable plastics is that they don’t break down in the marine environment, as they were designed to decompose in industrial composting facilities. In addition, studies have shown that biodegradeable plastics can actually persist in the environment just as long as traditional plastics.2 

“The growing problem of microbeads accumulating in our lakes, rivers and oceans must be solved. These tiny plastic particles are showing up in the guts of aquatic animals and in our beer. Canada must take action to protect our valued freshwater heritagesays Meredith Brown, environmental engineer and Executive Director of Ottawa Riverkeeper.

To preserve our oceans and waterways for generations to come, plastic pollution must be stopped before it ever has a chance to reach the environment. Together, Lush and Ottawa Riverkeeper are asking consumers to ban the bead by taking the following actions:

  • Sign the online petition which urges the federal government to put a stop to microbeads in cosmetic products. Find the petition at as of May 26th.
  • Join the conversation by using #BanTheBead on Twitter and Instagram. Spread the word about the issue and share solutions to microbead pollution.
  • Choose an exfoliating cosmetic product made with natural alternatives to microbeads. Lush has a variety of products to choose from, including a limited edition “Life’s A Beach” body scrub, which directs 100 percent of the purchase price to grassroots organizations, including Ottawa Riverkeeper, working on putting an end to microplastic pollution.


The Ban the Bead campaign will run in all 52 Canadian Lush stores from May 26th to June 24th. In addition to supporting the ban, Lush is also selling the limited edition Life’s A Beach body scrub ($6.95) made with fine sea salt and sand, which will be available in stores starting on June 5th. One hundred percent of the purchase price will be given to Ottawa Riverkeeper and other grassroots organizations to continue their work to “ban the bead”. To learn more about microplastics and additional ways to get involved, head to starting on May 26th.

Ottawa Riverkeeper

Ottawa Riverkeeper (French: Sentinelles de la rivière des Outaouais) is a local grassroots charity dedicated to protecting the health and future of the Ottawa River and its tributaries. Since 2001, we have worked with individuals, community groups, and all levels of government to promote increased stewardship and collective action on issues that affect our ability to swim, drink, and fish in our local waterways. Ottawa Riverkeeper is a member of Waterkeeper Alliance, an international organization led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

For further information on Ottawa Riverkeeper, please contact:

Meredith Brown, Executive Director | (613) 321-1120

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

Established 19 years ago, Lush Cosmetics has been driven by innovation and its ethics. Creators of pioneering beauty products such as the fizzing bath bombs, bubble bars, toothy tabs, and solid shampoo bars, Lush places emphasis on fresh ingredients like organic fruits and vegetables and the finest essential oils. Lush operates a strict policy against animal testing, supports Fair Trade and Community Trade initiatives, and leads the cosmetics industry in combating over-packaging by developing products that can be sold ‘naked’ to the consumer. Lush products are 100 percent vegetarian, 82 percent vegan, 60 percent preservative-free and 38 percent free of wasteful packaging with absolutely no animal testing being done on Lush products or ingredients. LUSH has over 220 locations in North America with more than 900 stores worldwide in over 50 countries. Visit for more information.

For further information on Lush, please contact:

Seema Dhillon, Canadian Public Relations | 604) 369-8341

David Casavant, Canadian Public Relations | (514) 229-6776


1Eriksen M, et al. Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans: more than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea. PLoS ONE 9(12):e111913 (2014). Available at:


2Susan Selke, Rafael Auras, Tuan Anh Nguyen, Edgar Castro Aguirre, Rijosh Cheruvathur, and Yan Liu “Evaluation of Biodegradation-Promoting Additives for Plastics.” Available at:

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