You may have read articles on a Report from the UK House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) about the environmental impact of microplastics, which also discusses the effects of plastic microbeads from cosmetic products on the marine environment. The Report follows an EAC hearing on 8 June 2016, at which the Directors-General of CTPA and the European Personal Care Association, Cosmetics Europe, gave evidence.
Current Cosmetics Industry Action
The industry began the process to phase out microbeads some time ago, and as a result there has already been a dramatic reduction in the use of solid plastic microbeads, reducing any further contribution to the presence of microplastics in the marine environment. In October 2015, Cosmetics Europe issued a recommendation to discontinue the use of synthetic, solid plastic particles that are non-biodegradable in the marine environment in wash-off cosmetic products used for exfoliating and cleansing. The Recommendation states this should be achieved by 2020 but in reality the industry's removal of plastic microbeads will be completed well ahead of this deadline, and far quicker than waiting for any regulatory action to be introduced and implemented. While the industry would of course be bound by any regulatory ban, plastic microbeads will already have been phased out ahead of any such action.
Dr Chris Flower, Former Director-General of CTPA, a toxicologist and Chartered Biologist, says: