Our products are natural and do not contain artificial plastics or other toxic ingredients. This is important to consider for the below.
When UpCircle coffee scrubs are washed down the drain from the shower or bath, they enter the municipal sewer system. The first step of waste management is for the contents of the sewer to enter Clarification tanks. These use differences in density to separate the fats and oils, which drift to the top, from the heavy metals and other solids, which drift to the bottom.
Polystyrene microbeads have a density which is very similar to that of water (1.04g/cm^3 vs 1g/cm^3). Consequently they neither sink to the bottom nor float to the top, but rather remain "trapped" in water - the clarification process is ineffective.
After Clarification follows Aeration, also known as Digestion tanks. Here, a bacteria-rich environment is created. This quickly consumes natural materials, including the likes of coffee grounds, sugar and salt which are ingredients found in our scrubs. Organic digestive agents are not able to digest and break down the plastic polymers of microbeads. Consequently they remain within the system, unlike the ingredients we use in our products.
After Aeration, a screening process occurs. Common screening does not detect or prevent microbeads, which can range in size between >0.1µm – ≤1mm (0.1 micrometre to 1 millimetre) i.e. very small.
Consequently, conventional waste management systems are unable to detect and prevent plastic microbeads, which is why they are found at huge scale in the world's oceans and rivers.
We are confident that the ingredients in our products do not pose an environmental concern post-use. Given that they are ingredients that are used in human food consumption, they are able to be dealt with by conventional waste management processes, unlike plastic microbeads.