#ygkChallenge: Hunt Down Microbeads in your Home

ygkchallenge, microbeads, Kingston, OntarioThe #ygkChallenge is an ongoing series where we dare you to be different, resolve to be better, and or do something awesome in support of our beloved community. Each week, Kingstonist establishes a new, ambitious or quirky goal, encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone and do something great, and hopefully a little out of the ordinary. By taking part in this community-wide initiative, we hope to make Kingston (and the world) a slightly better place to live, work and play.

This week’s #ygkChallenge encourages you to:

Hunt down microbeads in your home. Millions of people flush fish-killing microbeads down the drain every day. Are you one of them?

Microbeads are tiny plastic spheres. Each bead is less than 5 millimetres across. Microbeads are added to soaps, facial scrubs, and toothpaste to “polish” your skin and teeth. Unfortunately, after you rinse, the beads wash down the drain. Drains lead to the closest body of water, and that’s how microbeads end up in the wild.

In Lake Ontario, there are 1.1 million tiny plastic particles in just 1 square kilometre. Fish see these tiny plastics and think they are food. They eat the beads, but can’t digest them. So microbeads fill up the bellies of fish, until they starve.

You can help save Lake Ontario’s fish. The solution is simple – hunt down the products with microbeads hiding in your home and switch to fish-friendly alternatives.

How do you find microbeads? Look at the product’s ingredients list. Plastic is commonly listed as: polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate, and nylon. If you find a form of plastic listed, you’ve identified a product containing microbeads! (Remembering the names of plastic forms can be difficult, so try Lake Ontario Waterkeeper’s Rule of Thumb.)

Being aware of what we’re putting into our lakes and rivers is crucial to protecting our watershed, our community, and our health. So this summer, let’s make better choices as consumers. After all, we’re talking about the water we swim in, drink from, and the fish we eat. Enjoy the hunt, YGK!

Join us in completing this week’s #ygkchallenge by liking it on Facebook and/or re-Tweeting it on Twitter. By liking and sharing, you’re not only committing to doing something great, but you’re also helping us spread the word and hopefully encouraging others to participate.

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Submitted to Kingstonist’s Community Soapbox by Ruby Pajares for Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.  Find out more about Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and their efforts to protect waterways from microbead pollution here.

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