A ban on the manufacture of products containing microbeads has come into force today,a landmark step in the introduction of one of the world’s toughest bans on these harmful pieces of plastic.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey has announced that manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care products will no longer be able to add tiny pieces of plastic known as ‘microbeads’ to rinse-off products such as face scrubs, toothpastes and shower gels.
These damaging beads can cause serious harm to marine life, but the UK’s ban – praised by campaigners as one of the toughest in the world – will help to stop billions of microbeads ending up in the ocean every year.
Alongside the success of the government’s 5p plastic bag charge,which has taken nine billion bags out of circulation – the ban puts the UK at the forefront of international efforts to crack down on plastic pollution.
Dr Sue Kinsey, Senior Pollution Officer at the Marine Conservation Society, said:
We are delighted that such a robust microbead ban has come into force. This is the strongest and most comprehensive ban to be enacted in the world and will help to stem the flow of micro plastics into our oceans.”
A ban on the sale of products containing microbeads will follow later in the year.