Thursday, November 17, 2016

Workshop hand cleaners with microbeads - beware!

I keep politics away from this blog. RDM is about old bikes, enthusiasm for the same and celebrating this that unites us. There's some folks consider sensitivity to the environment as politics, it's not, it's just plain common sense. Of course our lives are a compromise and we can barely claim our hobby to be green but there are always steps you can take to avoid wanton pollution and waste.

The other day I ran out of workshop hand cleaner and nipped down to the local car spares shop to stock up on some new. I've always bought Manista Natural as it smells nice and citrusy and, well, 'natural' sounds good doesn't it. Something led me to read the ingredients and it seems the grainy-ness of the cleaner that I had always assumed was sand or something natural is in fact from polychips.

So, the bottom line is, if you are washing your hands with Manista or other brands of cleaner containing polychips / microbeads you are washing tiny grains of unfilterable plastic down the sink. Small grains of plastic that will find their way in to every waterway and ocean, into sea creatures and quite possibly on to your dinner plate if you eat seafood.

Of course Manista isn't the only handcleaner product out there with microbeads in it, there are several others. I guess they just incensed me by having the tenacity to call the product natural. Personally I took the tub of Manista back and swapped it for good old fashioned Swarfega without beads....

There's an article on the BBC website on microbeads. Hopefully they will be banned in the UK from 2017.


  1. coffee grounds with some olive oil and a biodegradable detergent works very well...

  2. I (literally) inherited loads of hand cleaner from my recently deceased 'biker cousin. Much of it contains those awful microbeads. How can I dispose of it without allowing it to enter the water cycle? Mixing it with concrete feels a little OTT. But I certainly won't be touching Manista (un)Natural in future - thanks for that! Lindsay Porter

    1. It's a very good question. The best advice for getting rid of it easily I can find is to put it in landfill. At least that way it doesn't go in to the water system. I find it goes against my nature rather to be so wasteful but there doesn't seem to be a lot of other options. Apparently when the States banned microbeads most manufacturers took their products back and some gave refunds. There's no guarantee that will happen here and it means holding on to something you don't want for a good while on the chance it might happen. You could of course wash your hands with it and strain the drain water through a fine gauze but that really is a lot of hassle.
      Best wishes, Richard