Microbeads are so small, often measuring at a millimeter or smaller, that many wastewater treatment plants are not able to filter them out. Thus, microbeads make it through the treatment plants and into our waterways.
The idea of using plastic in any form that pollutes the ocean must become as taboo as smoking in restaurants or not putting a seatbelt on your child. We will have won when the thought of plastic pollution drifting across the ocean is unthinkable in the present, and only a vestige of our memory.
The use of plastics in our daily lives has grown drastically over the last several decades. It is difficult for us to function without using plastics in some form. Think about our annual use of nearly 300 million metric tons.
There are alternatives: ground apricot shells and cocoa beans are proposed as substitute natural exfoliates for the various products. But if the industry ignores the argument and resists product modification, there is as always the option to legislate a solution.