The consultation found that the majority of respondents were in favour of a ban, and also suggested some tweaks were needed to the proposed definitions, scope and implementation of the ban. A full overview of the key points of the consultation can be found here.
The CTPA has now responded, with its Director General, Dr Chris Flowers, voicing support for the ban overall, while encouraging scientific evidence to form the basis of its scope and implementation.
“It is important that any ban is based on scientific evidence of risk to the marine environment,” he confirms.
“CTPA therefore welcomes the news that following the public consultation, the Government remains committed to banning the use of plastic microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products only where there is clear and robust evidence of harm to the marine environment.”
Only solid microplastic beads
Dr Flowers suggests that according to the currently available evidence, the ban ought to be restricted to specific type of microbead in a limited category of products.
“Only solid plastic microbeads contained in some rinse-off cleansing and exfoliating products have been associated with marine litter: other ingredients in cosmetic products have not been shown to contribute to marine litter,” he says.
The industry expert also emphasises that the industry has already made considerable strides to address the environmental impact of harmful microplastics, and so the proposed timescale will be achievable.
“Since 2015 the cosmetics industry has been voluntarily removing plastic microbeads from rinse-off cleansing and exfoliating personal care products.
“The vast majority of UK cosmetic manufacturers have already made significant progress, which means that the task of removing plastic microbeads from these products will be complete by 2018, the timescale proposed by the Government.”
Finally, Dr Flowers spoke in support of the government’s acknowledgement that other sources of marine pollution equally need addressing.
“CTPA is pleased that the consultation has also identified the other sources of marine microplastic pollution. The contribution from cosmetics towards the total volume of primary microplastic deposited into the marine environment each year is 0.29%,” he explains.
“We look forward to hearing how Government proposes to tackle those sources known to be major contributors to marine plastic pollution so that a genuine impact can be made on plastic pollution in our oceans for the future.”