Plastic microbeads are to be banned by 2017


The government has pledged that plastic microbeads used in various cosmetics will be banned by 2017 in order to help the environment as many of these beads find their way into our oceans.


Plastic microbeads are made from polyethylene, polypropylene and polymethylmethacrylate and are often listed as so in the ingredients rather than the word ‘microbead’ being used. They are commonly used in items such as shower gels, face scrubs and toothpastes.


The problem with the use of microbeads is that they cause irreversible damage to the environment as millions of sea creatures are being poisoned by eating the indigestible plastic pieces. The use of a body wash containing microbeads in just one shower can result in 100,000 plastic beads entering the ocean. It is believed that over 680 tonnes of microbeads are used in the UK each year.


Many companies have now promised to stop using the beads in their products by the end of next year. There are many websites that are listing products that do or don’t contain microbeads and there is also an app available where you can check products by scanning the barcode with your smartphone camera.



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