Bathroom Cleaning - Others

How to Dispose of Microbeads

Maria Victoria Malela
By Maria Victoria Malela. Updated: January 20, 2017
How to Dispose of Microbeads

While successful social media campaigns in favor of the ban of microbeads multiply and consumer sensitization is growing, we may run into an obvious predicament which is - what are we now to do with the products that we may have been using in the past, cumulated over months, sometimes years, of ill-informed consumerism?

Sure, we may have long since, stopped using the little plastic spheres as exfoliants, and we have traded our face cleanser for a more organic and biodegradable option, but what are we really supposed to do with the products sitting on our shelves? The truth is that passing them to anyone in our entourage would do nothing but perpetrate the circle of plastic pollution, while flushing them down the drain is sure to be bad for the environment. Should we just throw them in the trash? How to dispose of microbeads?

If you are wondering about a safe alternative to recycle your old microbead-containing products in a non toxic way, there are options out there available from specialists, like the Plastic Soup foundation or the 5 gyres Institute. OneHowTo sheds light on how to dispose of microbeads.

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  1. Send it to a landfill
  2. Return to the manufacturer
  3. Strain the microbeads and send them to researchers
  4. Send them to the 5 Gyres institute
  5. Turn them into art

Send it to a landfill

To dispose of microbeads, remove the content of the product directly into a trash can, so it can go to a landfill. Seal the container and recycle it.

Return to the manufacturer

On the website of their campaign : Beat the microbead, the Plastic Soup foundation offers some helpful advice for users who wish to recycle their old microbead-containing products, namely to return these products back to their manufacturer. The website even offers a sample letter to attach to the product when returning it. You can find the sample letter when clicking on the section : return the microbead.

Strain the microbeads and send them to researchers

Depending on the size of the microbeads, you can strain them, using a coffee filter or a muslin bag available at your local supply store. Open the product container and pour the liquid in the strainer, making sure all the microbeads are retained inside it. Allow the liquid to drain completely. Dry the microbeads and store them in a container. Many scientific organizations are offering to collect microbeads for scientific research. Send your microbeads to researchers and contribute to developing educational projects.

How to Dispose of Microbeads - Strain the microbeads and send them to researchers

Send them to the 5 Gyres institute

The 5 Gyres Institute is a non profit that defines itself as a community that fights plastic pollution through education, science and activism. The organization is open to receiving all products that contain microbeads, at the following address:


3131 Olympic Blvd

Santa Monica, CA 90404

Turn them into art

Once strained and dried, you can also use microbeads for your art projects (embellishments, scrapbooking, etc,..). For more inspiration on the alternative use of microbeads, consult online craft tutorials or browse through Pinterest.

You may also be interested in : How to make art with plastic bottles

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How to Dispose of Microbeads