UK ban on plastic microbeads now in place


The UK has banned the manufacturing of products containing microbeads, in what is being viewed as one of the world’s toughest bans on the harmful pieces of plastic.

The landmark step will stop manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care products from adding the tiny pieces of plastic to rinse-off products such as face scrubs, toothpastes and shower gels.

As microbeads are often washed down the drain, they pollute the ocean and cause serious harm to marine life. This ban will now stop billions of pieces of the plastic ending up in the ocean every year.

It comes as conservation groups back calls from MPs to introduce a “latte levy”: a 25p tax on every disposable coffee cup bought by consumers.

In a recent report from the Commons committee, the Government was accused of “sitting on its hands” as more than 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups were thrown away every year.

Money raised from the tax would be used to improve the UK’s recycling “binfrastructure” and look to change people’s habits.

Cleaner Oceans

Mary Creagh, whose committee demanded the charge on all drinks bought in cups, said everyone should pressure firms into doing more.

“The environment is fast becoming the pressing political issue of our generation,” Ms Creagh said.

The UK has been at the forefront of tackling plastic pollution and the Government’s 5p plastic bag charge is viewed as a success, with more than nine billion bags moved of circulation as a result.

Likewise the ban on microbeads also sees the UK lead the way on the global stage, with the move being described as one of the world’s toughest bans on the plastic.

Dilyana Mihaylova, marine plastics projects manager at conservation charity Fauna & Flora International, said she hoped the ban signalled a new era in the fight for cleaner oceans.

“Fauna & Flora International has been working to address the issue of plastic microbead pollution since 2009, and we are delighted that the Government took such a clear stand on this issue and that a robust UK microbeads ban comes into force today.

“We hope this ban signals the dawn of a new era in the fight for cleaner, healthier oceans, with the UK leading the way and supporting other countries to ensure that plastic will no longer reach the environment,” Ms Mihaylova added.

Read the full article at The Independent.

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