Bryan Cave's Nicola Conway has warned manufacturers to prepare for the impending UK ban on microbeads in cosmetics and beauty products.
Microbeads ban on the cards
Following the the UK's Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, confirmation that legislation will be introduced this year to ban the manufacture and sale of microbeads in "rinse-off" personal care products and cosmetics, manufacturers need to take action now, Ms Conway says. In an article for the firm's EU Retail News, she says that the proposed ban on microbeads, which are tiny plastic particles commonly found in exfoliators, scrubs, cleansers and toothpastes and have been found to be damaging to the environment, will apply to all cosmetics and personal care products which are designed to be washed down the drain. However, she notes that the ban does not extend to other products which have been shown to contain microbeads such as household cleaning items, makeup and sunscreen, but there is potential for expansion of the ban in the future. With enforcement of the ban in England carried out through a range of sanctions including variable monetary penalties, compliance notices, stop notices and enforcement undertakings, manufacturers should be taking steps to reformulate products and seek out non-plastic alternatives to microbeads.