UK bans plastic microbeads

  The UK has today introduced a ban on the manufacture of products containing plastic microbeads. The government says the move is one of “the world’s toughest bans” on the […]

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By Jonny Bairstow
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The UK has today introduced a ban on the manufacture of products containing plastic microbeads.

The government says the move is one of “the world’s toughest bans” on the sub-millimetre diameter balls, which are used to improve the appearance and texture of many shower gels, exfoliators and toothpastes.

Cosmetics and personal care products will no longer be able to use the small pieces of plastic, which have been blamed for causing serious harm to marine life.

After being rinsed off, microbeads are carried down drains and through filters, with billions ending up in the world’s oceans every year where they are ingested by sea creatures.

The ban follows other measures to reduce plastic waste in the UK, including the 5p plastic bag charge and a proposed bottle deposit return scheme.

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.”