In the summer of 2012, the Plastic Soup Foundation launched the Beat the Microbead campaign in partnership with the North Sea Foundation. The campaign is targeted towards microbeads in cosmetics, i.e. the tiny particles of plastic added to possibly thousands of personal care products sold around the world. The campaign asks:
• Manufacturers to stop using microbeads;
• Retailers not to sell products containing microbeads;
• Consumers to refrain from buying products containing microbeads;
• Governments to ban the use of microbeads in personal care products as soon as possible.
The campaign is supported by a You Tube video starring the rapping Captain Charles Moore (the discoverer of the Plastic Soup), who points out the dangers of microplastics. A smartphone App to help consumers follow developments with the Beat the Microbead campaign was developed and launched in November 2012. The App allowed consumers to scan the barcodes of personal care products, to see which products contain microplastics. The free App has three codes: red, orange and green. Red means that the product contains plastic microbeads. Orange means, like red, that the product contains microbeads, but the manufacturer has made a public commitment to phase out microbeads. Green means that the product is free from plastic. The App was hugely successful and received a lot of media attention.