Microbeads - What does a ban look like?

Posted by alice.hunter — 26 August 2016 at 4:41pm - Comments
A full ban on any plastic in any household product that goes down the drain
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace

On Wednesday this week, the Environmental Audit Committee released a report calling for microbeads to be banned. But what does an effective ban look like? The ban in the US, whilst signalling a huge step forward, is riddled with loopholes.

To protect our oceans from these polluting plastics, we need a full and comprehensive ban. Along with our coalition partners, we've outlined what this looks like:

"Crucially, any legislation must be fully comprehensive to avoid the loopholes we have seen in company commitments. By removing these loopholes, the UK could show genuine environmental leadership and go beyond the US Microbeads ban, which has various limitations around which types of ingredient and product it applies to. Specifically, we ask the government to follow the below guidelines set out by Fauna & Flora International (as specifically recommended by the committee):

Any definition of ‘microbeads’ must include all solid microplastics used for any purpose (not just for exfoliation). There should be no lower size limit included in the definition.The legislation should cover all products that are commonly washed down the drain. This includes a wide range of cosmetic and personal care products as well as many household cleaners and other product categories.

Legislation should not allow so-called ‘biodegradable’ plastics to be used as alternatives as these materials do not degrade in the marine environment and therefore represent a false solution to the problem. There should be a clear timeline for phasing out these ingredients, and a date after which products containing microplastics must not be sold. Ideally this should be within two years of the ban."

If you haven't already signed the petition to ban microbeads, add your name here.

This is a joint campaign in collaboration with the Environmental Investigation Agency, Fauna and Flora and International and the Marine Conservation Society.

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