Microbeads – the solid little plastic particles you find in gels and scrubs, are set to become a thing of the past.
It’s been announced that the Government will go ahead with a ban on the ‘rinse-off’ plastic beads, that are commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products.
The news will be welcomed by environmentalists, who say that the beads are responsible for damaging marine life, as well as possibly posing a serious risk to humans.
Many of you will use products such as exfoliating scrubs, shower gels and toothpaste’s that will be affected by the ban.
However, the cosmetics industry resisted calls for “leave-on” products like make-up and sunscreen to be included in the ban, saying they would have to reformulate up to 90% of their products, which would be ‘difficult’ and ‘expensive’, reports the Independent.
The necessary legislation will be introduced by the Government later this year and revealed that an expert committee would consider whether other products should also be included in the ban – which would be enforced by warnings and fines.
Greenpeace UK have hailed the move as ‘the strongest ban on microbeads in the world to date’ and the Marine Conservation Society also welcomed the announcement, but said microbeads should be banned from any product that was likely to end up being flushed ‘down the drain’.
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, welcomed the news and said that further action would be taken to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering our oceans, saying:
It’s putting marine wildlife under serious threat.
You might not have to rush out to the shops and re-stock just yet though – manufacturing won’t be outlawed until 1 January 2018, with sales prohibited from 30 June.
Banning plastic microbeads in cosmetics was seen as an easy way of reducing the amount of small pieces of plastic getting into the sea, partly because they are used as exfoliants and there are natural replacements.