The 97.6% decrease refers to the use of plastic microbeads for cleansing and exfoliating purposes in wash-off cosmetic and personal care products, noted between 2012 and 2017.
The figures come from Cosmetics Europe, an industry body representing the European beauty market in the global arena.
The trade association notes that it has encouraged industry players to be proactive on the issue of microplastics and in responding to the national bans now in place across the region, and says its recent figures suggest the industry is responding well.
“In 2015, Cosmetics Europe recommended to its members to discontinue the use of plastic microbeads for cleansing and exfoliating purposes in wash-off cosmetic and personal care products,” it confirms.
“Today, we can fully appreciate the results of this recommendation. The 97,6% reduction strongly re-confirms the effectiveness of the voluntary initiative taken by our industry.”
Voice of the industry: Loic Armand
Loïc Armand, President of Cosmetics Europe and of L’Oréal, voiced confidence in the industry’s efforts, describing them as ‘substantial’.
“The 97.6% decrease, which represents over 4250 tons of plastic microbeads substituted and removed, could not have been achieved without substantial efforts undertaken by the industry to go forward with this pro-active, voluntary initiative,” he says.
“These included research, investment and reformulation – a lengthy, complex and costly process. The availability of suitable alternatives also played a critical role.
“The result achieved demonstrates systematic progress towards the industry’s objective of removing all plastic microbeads used for exfoliating and cleansing purposes in wash-off cosmetics and personal care products by 2020.
“We will keep up the good work with the hope of reaching our objective of zero plastic microbeads ahead of the deadline.”
Earlier this year, the UK’s ban came into force, offering a case study in the ban for the beauty industry, with full details available here.