The Canada-based biotechnology company specializes in developing advanced bioplastics and has now launched a line of biodegradable, natural microspheres for use in cosmetics and personal care products as an alternative.
The company’s alternative is a PHA-based biomaterial which is claimed to be produced using a non-GMO, non-toxic, plant-associated process.
Going the extra on biodegradability
But the company also claims that the biodegradable credentials of the material go beyond many other alternatives on the market, specifically because it is intrinsically biodegradable, meaning it does not need a composting environment in order to degrade.
That could be an important selling point, given that the outlawing of the microbeads has come about due to a significant and growing pollutions problem in waterways across the nation.
“The scale of pollution found recently in the Great Lakes as a result of plastic microbeads used in personal care products has been dramatic and concerning,” said William Bardosh, CEO and founder of TerraVerdae BioWorks.
“Our biodegradable, environmentally safe microspheres have all the performance characteristics that cosmetic manufacturers demand of current polyethylene plastic products, but they rapidly and safely break down in the marine environment, leaving behind no harmful solids.”
Lawmakers tackle microbead pollution
In the past year plastic microbead pollution has become a significant issue in the United States, with lawmakers at both a Federal and State level implementing new regulations to outlaw its use in cosmetic and personal care formulations.
While regulations are being introduced in a growing number of states nationwide aimed at tackling the pollution problem, so far two – Illinois and New Jersey – have implemented a future ban on microbeads, while dozens of other states are mulling similar regulation.
However, at the all-important Federal level, the Microbead Free Waters Act of 2015 was recently filed in the US Senate and House of Representatives with the aim of phasing out microbeads in personal care products.
If passed, the law would outlaw the formulation of plastic microbeads in personal care products by January 1st 2018.
What industry is doing about it
A number of major cosmetic and personal care companies have already said they are set to phase out microbeads in their products, including, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, L’Oreal and Colgate-Palmolive.
And like TerraVerdae, a number of industry suppliers have also set to work to produce sustainable and eco-friendly ingredient alternatives.
Those other players that have launched alternatives include Evonik and Floratech, while Honeywell is in the midst of developing its alternative.