Ban on Sales of Microbead Products Begins Today
The UK government's ban on the sale of 'rinse-off' cosmetic products containing microbeads comes into effect today, Tuesday 19 June.
The ban on sales takes comes 6 months after the ban on the manufacture of such products came into effect on 8 January this year. 'Rise-off' products are classed as the type of cosmetics such as toothpaste and shower gel, which immediately distribute the tiny plastic beads into the water system during use. Estimates suggest that as many as 100,000 microbeads could be flushed into the drainage system during a single shower.
Although the ban on the sale of 'rinse-off' products has been hailed as a great success, many conservationists believe it does not go far enough. so-called 'stay-on' cosmetic products including certain types of make-up and sunscreen were not included in the original ban.
Recent studies have shown that microplastics, a cover-all term which includes degraded plastic from other sources, as well as microbeads, have entered the human food chain, particularly in shellfish such as oysters and mussels.
'We are delighted that this robust microbead ban has come into force,' said Dr Sue Kinsey, Senior Pollution Policy Officer at the Marine Conservation Society, in a statement on the MCS website. 'This is the strongest and most comprehensive ban to be enacted in the world and will help to stem the flow of microplastics into our oceans.
'We believe that this signals a real commitment on the part of this government to clean up our seas and beaches and we look forward to seeing further actions to combat plastic waste. The next step has to be to extend the scope of the ban to more products such as suncreams, make-ups and general cleaning products that are used every single day.'