MPs Call for Outright Ban on Plastic Microbeads from Cosmetics Products


The UK Government has been urged by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) to completely ban cosmetic companies from using environmentally harmful plastic microbeads in bathroom products by the end of 2017. A new report published by the cross-party EAC has concluded that plastic microbeads in products such as exfoliating scrubs, toothpastes and shaving gels are causing avoidable pollution that enters the food chain and severely harms marine life.

“The Government is clear that it wants to work with other European countries to get a Europe-wide ban on microbeads and that is what we’re recommending as a best-case scenario,” committee chair Mary Creagh said. “But in the event that Brexit makes that difficult, we are recommending a national ban.”

Most large cosmetics companies have made voluntary commitments to phase out microbeads by 2020. But the EAC believes this voluntary approach simply doesn’t go far enough to create sustainable business consistency or increase consumer confidence in the cosmetics industry. In it’s 42-page report, the EAC is demanding a national ban on microbeads by the end of 2017, in addition to the introduction of a clear labelling scheme during the transitional period of a voluntary phase out.

Creagh added: “We welcome the efforts that the industry has taken but there are problems with them because some companies have not engaged with those efforts, others will just hitch a free ride on the back of the people that are doing the right thing. We want a level playing field for all cosmetics companies across all products and all types of plastics.”