Earlier this month, the U.K. took a landmark step to help address the immense volume of plastic in our oceans and waterways. Going forward, the government has banned the manufacture of products containing microbeads. These tiny bits of plastic are in everything from soap to toothpaste. Despite their size, they do untold damage to the world’s waters and marine life. The new U.K. microbead ban will hopefully address some of this damage.
U.K. microbead ban comes into effect
The damaging microbeads wash down the drain with your face wash or hand soap. The cumulative effect means billions of pieces of tiny plastic are choking our oceans. The ban means that manufacturers cannot add the beads to any products going forward from now. The U.K has also instituted plastic-abatement measures. These include a 5p charge for plastic bags. This step has meant 9 billion plastic bags moved out of circulation, as reported by The Independent.
Environment minister Thérèse Coffey told the paper that the government would tackle other forms of plastic waste as well.
“The world’s seas and oceans are some of our most valuable natural assets, and I am determined we act now to tackle the plastic that devastates our precious marine life,” she said.
“Microbeads are entirely unnecessary when there are so many natural alternatives available. I am delighted that from today cosmetics manufacturers will no longer be able to add this harmful plastic to their rinse-off products,” she said.
The microbead ban comes as the U.K. government releases a 25-year environment plan that aims to address issues on land and in the ocean and waterways.