UK moves towards microbead ban

Environmental secretary Andrea Leadsom has announced plans for a ban on the manufacture and sale of cosmetics containing microbeads, which could come into force as soon as 2017.

The Government will launch a consultation later this year to assess the best course of action. The UK Government previously proposed a voluntary phase-out, working with manufacturers to eventually eliminate the tiny plastic beads from cosmetic products. However, MPs from the Environmental Audit Committee raised new concerns over how effective a ban would actually be, given the other sources of microplastics that enter rivers and seas and can harm wildlife.

This was echoed by the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Perfumery Association (CTPA), which said in a statement, “The quantities [of plastic litter in seas] from other, non-cosmetic, sources dwarf the amount of microbeads we once used. We look to Government to address plastics pollution on a wider basis.”