A ban on microbeads is set to be introduced in the UK from the beginning of 2018, with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs(Defra) revealing that the manufacture of products containing microbeads will cease in the UK on 1 January 2018, while the ban on the sale of such products will come in on 30 June 2018.
The ban will cover all rinse-off personal care products, which can include everything from exfoliators to toothpaste, but it doesn’t extend to leave-on products after those in the cosmetics industry suggested this would mean they needed to reformulate a substantial amount of their products.
In its response to the close of the consultation, Defra acknowledged that the timescale it has set for removing microplastics from such products is “challenging”.
However, the department added that the need for swift action is to “minimise the loss of plastic to the marine environment, balancing the need of industries to reformulate with the fact that suitable alternatives have already been identified and are widely used”.
For cosmetics manufacturers, this is an opportunity to make their operations more sustainable and to appeal to a wider range of consumers.
A growing number of organisations have already been moving in this direction, with one journalist recently noting that the number of vegan and vegetarian cosmetic products on the market has increased substantially in recent years.
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