News + Insights


Microbeads: Part Two – An Update on the Proposed Bans

07 August 2017

Last September Rosie Sibley and Curtis Harnanan gave us the Transatlantic Perspective on Microbeads after the Canadian government declared them Toxic. Ten months on, the UK Government have also committed to a ban, Rosie Sibley explains.

Last month, Michael Gove, UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced a ban on microbeads within personal care products following a consultation held at the end of 2016. From January 1st 2018, the UK will ban the manufacture of “rinse-off” cosmetics and personal care products containing plastic microbeads, with the sale of these products to cease from June 30th 2018.

Canada and the US have also announced similar bans to the UK. In Canada, the first regulations on microbeads will come into effect in January 2018. In the US, the trade of cosmetics containing microbeads will cease from July 1st 2018, as well as a ban on non-prescription drugs containing microbeads coming into effect from July 1st 2019.

Despite it being hailed as one the strongest bans to date, there has been some controversy over the UK’s planned restrictions on microbeads. This is due to only “rinse-off” as opposed to “leave-on” cosmetics being included (with leave-on cosmetics being items such as sun lotions and long-stay make-up). Leave-on products have been left out due to major reformulation being needed to remove microbeads from these type of cosmetics; however, further consultation will take place later this year to assess the feasibility of including these products in the ban.


Looking at the bigger picture, were you aware that microbeads would come to the top of the agenda? First it was plastic bags, then coffee cups, and now microbeads. As consumer awareness grows and the figures stack up, making sure your products contain less plastic is becoming increasingly important. The good news is, solutions do exist to these challenges, which can help you to reduce environmental impact and ensure business continuity. Using GreenDesign, Anthesis can assess your products on a range of sustainability metrics to ensure reformulated items meet new regulations and that your product innovations have full green lifecycles. This can help you to go beyond compliance by reducing reputational risk and make sure you remain one step ahead.

Read our two page guides to find out more about how we can help.

Streamlined Life Cycle Assessments: Developing a sustainability improvement strategy for products and services

Chemical management and compliance – our two page guide


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