Make-Up with Plastic Beads to be Banned in New Zealand

Connector Winter 2017

New Zealand’s Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced that cosmetic products containing tiny plastic particles known as microbeads would be banned in July next year because of concerns about their impact on the marine environment.

The move was welcomed by scientists, though they said New Zealand had been slow to act and further reduction of other plastics was needed. Environmentalists want the Government to go further by banning or taxing plastic bags.

Smith said the Government was targeting microbeads because they could not be recycled and because there was clear evidence of harm to waterways, fish, and shellfish.

He said he would not rule out changes in relation to plastic bags in future, but the Government’s focus was currently on a nationwide recycling scheme.

The United States and Canada have already begun the process of banning microbeads, and Australia has threatened a ban if companies do not voluntarily remove them from their products.

“The problem with microbeads is that they are too small to retrieve or recycle, they do not biodegrade, and that they are mistaken by marine life as food, causing long-term damage to aquatic animals and like fish and mussels,” Smith said.

“The use of plastic microbeads in personal care products like facial cleaners and toothpaste makes no sense when there are biodegradable alternatives like apricot kernels and ground nut products that achieve the same results.”

Source: The New Zealand Herald