Mr Gove confirms plans for microbead ban

Date posted: 21 July 2017

Microbead ban confirmed for cosmetic products

The government confirmed today that it will be banning microbeads form use in “rinse-off” products, following a recent consultation on its proposals.

Microbead hand-wash
© R Ingle / Fauna and Flora International

We’re delighted that the government has confirmed that they are going ahead with this ban following their recent consultation. It is a hugely important first step. However, there are lots of products that are not included in the ban which will continue to be made and sold that contain microplastic ingredients. The next step should be to consider extending the scope of the ban to more products such as suncreams and make-ups that are in common use.

Dr Laura Foster,
Head of Pollution

MCS has campaigned for a ban on microbeads for several years, and worked together with the Environmental Investigation Agency, Fauna & Flora International, and Greenpeace UK over the past 18 months. We’re delighted that the government has confirmed the ban. This will go a long way towards stemming the flow of damaging microplastic ingredients into our seas and oceans, and will also help consumers who do not want to be adding to pollution when they use cosmetic and beauty products.

Manufacture of products covered by the scope of this ban will be required to end by 1st January 2018, with the ban on sale coming into force on 30th June 2018.

However, there are many products not contained within the scope of this ban that contain microplastic ingredients and enter the aquatic environment. We welcome the government’s announcement that they will work to gather the evidence needed to decide whether the scope of the ban should be extended, and we strongly encourage industry to help with this process and be transparent about the ingredients that they are using.

Actions you can take

  1. NGO microbead briefing paper
  2. Learn about Deposit Return Systems
  3. Read our microbead ban position statement
  4. Join a beach clean
  5. Find out more about nurdles
  6. Join the Plastic Challenge

Did you know?…

Every year, volunteers give us over 1,000 days of their time

It’s estimated that one rubbish truck load of plastic litter enters the ocean every minute

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is thought to be 6 times the size of the UK

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