324,385 people have signed a UK petition calling for a microbead ban.
Today George Eustice - the Environment Minister - responded stating that the Government would support an initial ban on cosmetics containing polluting plastic microbeads.
There is however a worry that the UK Government's ban may not be as robust as it should be.
Mr Eustice indicated to Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee that the ban could be widened in the future to include microbead use in other products, such washing powders.
Greenpeace UK are concerned that the proposed legislation seals up every loophole so that all consumer products that contain microbeads are banned, not just personal care products.
Last week (Wednesday 8th June) the cosmetic trade bodies appeared before the same Committee. The cosmetic trade argued that they were in favour of an EU voluntary phase-out by 2020. This was quickly dismissed by the Committee.
Zac Goldsmith MP stated: “I am trying to understand why as a trade body would you be so strongly opposed to a ban and I can’t think of any reason other than the fact that the industry is perhaps not as committed as you imply.”
Just over five months ago, President Barack Obama banned plastic microbeads for good when he signed the 'Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015' into law on 28th December.
The US now has a three stage deadline for banning products containing these polluting plastic particles:
- Personal care products and cosmetics: banned from July 2017
- Cosmetics: banned from July 2018
- Over-the-counter drugs: banned from July 2019