New Zealand to ban microbeads in 2018

A Cabinet decision on December 04 to approve a proposed ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetics and household products, has been broadly welcomed. The ban will take effect in June 2018.

Plastic microbeads are found in personal care products such as facial cleansers, bath scrubs and toothpaste. The minute plastic particles enter the marine environment where they accumulate and are often mistaken for food by marine life. Plastic does not biodegrade; instead it photodegrades into smaller and smaller carcinogenic particles that are eventually ingested or inhaled, with bio-accumulation causing long-term damage to New Zealand’s marine life and the wider food chain.

Many submitters urged the Government to broaden the scope of the proposed ban to include other products containing microbeads. In response the Regulation has been widened to include all “wash-off” microbead-containing products for exfoliating, cleansing or abrasive cleaning purposes. This includes household, car or other cleaning products as well as personal care products.

The regulations will come into effect in early June 2018, six months after notification in the NZ Gazette this week. A total of 16,223 submissions were received. All the submissions either supported the proposed ban or supported it in part. None were opposed.

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Image credit – 5Gyres