After much publicity and campaigning, 2018 has seen the official ban of microbeads in personal
care products in the UK.

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.

The ban has come into force after a number of skincare brands, along with organisations such as Greenpeace and the Marine Conservation Society (MSC), fought for their banning. This is because the tiny bits of plastic can cause serious harm to marine life. They’re designed to be washed down the drain but are too small to filter out during wastewater treatment. Once they’re out in the wild, microbeads can easily be ingested by marine animals.

Dr Laura Foster, MCS Head of Clean Seas, said it was a hugely important first step but more still needs to be done.
“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.”

MCS Senior Pollution Policy Officer, Dr Sue Kinsey, added: “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.”