White Microbeads from Fully Natural Sources – BioPowder.com Launches Natural Marble Powders

Kathrin Schilling

While the replacement of synthetic microbeads is in full swing – especially in the personal care industry – natural alternatives have posed certain challenges for R&D professionals. The BioPowder.com team has reacted and found new solutions for common formulation challenges.

Most importantly, manufacturers of body scrubs, hand cleaners and innovative materials are concerned with maintaining and expanding their customer base. This often limits the possibilities when it comes to replacing microbeads. The latter, mostly used as abrasive grains or fillers, were conventionally made from plastics (e.g. polyethylene, polypropylene or polyurethane). Leaving aside the harmful environmental impact, plastic doubtlessly has its advantages: it is inexpensive, can easily be dyed in any color and molded in a perfectly spherical shape.

Competing with those advantages seemed difficult at first. However, the harmfulness of microplastic for the planet and ultimately for human health definitely outweighs short-term convenience. In 2020, sustainability and responsible use of resources are determining factors of market success and a positive image among an ever-demanding consumer base. While fruit stone powders have proven vast application potential, their color is somewhat difficult to change. Certain applications require a perfectly white filler, binder or abrasive – either for reasons of design/branding or to maintain an identical look as a conventional end product containing PE or PU beads.

Innovative White Microbeads from Natural Marble Granules

To solve those challenges, we launched an innovative line of fine natural marble powders and granules. Marble is a natural rock composed of carbonate minerals and comes in numerous forms and colors. It is also known as a mined material requiring massive soil and processing resources. The latter aspect has made us hesitate in the beginning. However, we discovered the potential of recycled marble, i.e. marble residues from the marble-processing industry, that can be transformed into micronized powders without the need for any mining activity.

For this purpose, our team has partnered with leading producers of fine marble in the South of Spain. The available material is characterized by extreme whiteness (the whitest grade on the market) and purity. To the same extent as our granules made from ground olive pits, the raw ground marble can be micronized into a variety of grain size ranges: from fine powders of <10 microns up to gravels in the range of several cm.

While its chemical composition is very similar to calcium carbonate (CaCO3), marble powder has a unique texture and gloss. It is associated with elegance, solidity and quality due to its century-long use in prestigious buildings, sculptures and ornaments.

We have developed our micronized marble powders into proven additives for paints, coatings and any other material mix where whiteness is important. A study created in partnership with UNIFAP has demonstrated excellent result of recycled marble powder in paints – both water- and solvent-based: in contrast with conventional CaCO3, opacity and whiteness could be enhanced significantly.
Please feel free to ask for the quantitative results.

natural marble vs CaCO3

Left half: paint formulated with white marble
Right half: paint formulated with conventional calcium carbonate
We can see a better whiteness and a less yellow hue in the paint formulated with recycled marble.

Unique Advantages of Recycled Marble Micro Beads

  • exceptional whiteness (>97%)
  • high particle definition and stability, also in very fine ranges below 12 microns
  • sustainable material, produced in the EU: no mining, no crops, no synthetic additives
  • EU origin, ethical sourcing and processing
  • versatile application options, easy enhancement of existing formulations

We would be very pleased to discuss your application for recycled marble powder. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your inquiry.