Microbead Case Study
In 2015 as part of the 5 gyres advisory board, our main objective was to work with other organizations to create a policy change around the microbead and it’s use in consumer products - we succeeded in the united states with a ban in early 2016. However, aside from a handful of countries who banned the use of this product millions of beads were still being used every day around the world. Knowing the topic was a growing concern in the uk we took it upon ourselves to personally campaign against microbeads by creating public awareness and government pressure to follow with a ban.
In order to create awareness and momentum around the campaign we knew we needed a public figure that could rally their fanbase, as well as the general public around the issue through the press and social media. We decided teamed up with Dougie Poynter (Mcfly) who has a long history of environmental work and philanthropy. Dougie started posting about microbeads on his social media and followed with an open letter on the Huffington Post. The open letter received over 12.78 million impressions and was picked up by the metro, ok, the evening standard and the daily mail. We followed this letter with a series of social media posts and an in-depth interview with the telegraph. Soon other public figures started to follow and support the cause (Ellie Goulding, Erika Linder, Vivian Westwood, etc).
In the summer of 2017 the uk government announced that it was banning the use of microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products. Enforcement in England will be carried out through a range of sanctions including variable monetary penalties, compliance notices, stop notices and enforcement undertakings.