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Cosmetics clothing & the ocean. Youth Climate Summit

Cosmetics, clothing and the ocean

Marine Conservation Society


Session for secondary schools


We look at how your bathroom cosmetics and clothing habits could be polluting our seas. Did you know that many cosmetics like make-up products, face creams, hair care and face wash contain invisible ‘forever chemicals’ PFAS, these remain in the marine environment for many years and can have a detrimental impact on the ocean and the animals within it. Our cosmetics are also most commonly stored in non-recyclable plastics, the containers use up valuable raw materials and stay around for hundreds of years after use. 

Our clothes are made of millions of tiny fibres, many of which are plastic. With every wash and wear, these microfibres shed from our clothes and can end up in the environment. A single wash can release over 700,000 microfibres into wastewater, many of which then end up in the ocean.  


We consider actions we can take to reduce the amount of chemicals and plastics both large and small ending up in the ocean.  


Speaker: Rachael Wright, Education Officer, Marine Conservation Society  


Teacher Rating
Overall Rating
11-16 years old

This resource helps support the below Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For more information on the full set of SDGs, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Establish sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.



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