UK microbeads ban comes into force
The long-awaited UK ban on the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetic products has come into effect.
Manufacturers can no longer produce rinse-off products that contain microbeads, such as exfoliators, shower gels and toothpaste.
This will be followed by a ban on the sale of existing products from June 20 this year.
In a move to reduce plastic pollution in oceans and waterways the Government pledged to ban the beads in September 2016, following the lead of the US, which introduced its own ban in 2015.
The Microbeads Coalition (formed of the Environmental Investigation Agency, Fauna & Flora International, Greenpeace UK and the Marine Conservation Society) said in a statement:
“The UK microbeads ban provides an excellent first step towards wider action on microplastic ingredient use in all products reaching our seas, as well as providing a solid foundation for preventing all other sources of microplastic pollution.
“It also serves to show that governments can make a real difference in addressing marine plastic pollution more widely, and we urge the UK government to continue showing leadership on this issue.”
Canada also introduced a ban on the manufacture and import of any products containing microbeads on January 1.
However, microbeads are only part of the plastic pollution problem. Pressure is now expected to mount on the world’s governments to take action against plastic bottle waste.
According to a Guardian report in June last year, more than 16 million plastic bottles from the UK “are put into landfill, burnt or leak into the environment and oceans every day”.