Why are plastic microbeads an issue?

Like all single-use plastic items, microbeads are designed to be used once then discarded. These are commonly washed down the drain and end up in waterways where they do not break down for hundreds of years and harm the environment and wildlife.

Items in scope

Rinse-off personal care, cosmetic and cleaning products that contain plastic microbeads. Exemptions may be considered.

Benefits of the product

Exfoliation and abrasive properties, as well as product appearance.

Reasons for consideration

  • Made of microplastics which do not decompose and are harmful in the environment, particularly in aquatic and marine ecosystems. These microplastics can end up in the food chain.
  • Due to their size, microbeads are almost impossible to remove from the environment.

Possible alternatives

  • Products that do not contain microbeads.
  • Products that contain alternative exfoliants, such as silica, powders from seeds and nuts, salt or coffee grounds.