UK's microbeads ban takes effect
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.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: "The world’s seas and oceans are some of our most valuable natural assets and I am determined we act now to tackle the plastic that devastates our precious marine life.
"Microbeads are entirely unnecessary when there are so many natural alternatives available, and I am delighted that from today cosmetics manufacturers will no longer be able to add this harmful plastic to their rinse-off products.
"Now we have reached this important milestone, we will explore how we can build on our world-leading ban and tackle other forms of plastic waste."
A ban on the sale of products containing microbeads will follow later in the year. ■