Cosmetics companies in the UK have pledged to remove polluting plastic microbeads from products. At the same time, across the Atlantic, the California Assembly has just passed the Microplastic Nuisance Prevention Law that bans the manufacture and sale of personal care products containing the tiny plastic microbeads.
As we’ve previously reported, it has been revealed that the tiny synthetic beads from cosmetics products, such as exfoliating washes and scrubs, after being washed down sinks, are polluting waterways and being consumed by fish and other marine animals. The tiny microbeads are too small for water treatment plants to filter.
Thirteen companies, including multinational cosmetics companies, are now planning to stop using the microbeads in products, The Independent has reported. The brands include Tesco, Procter & Gamble, Estée Lauder, Clarins, Superdrug, and Sainsbury’s. However, they were not able to say exactly when, and Aldi couldn’t give a solid commitment on removing microbeads at all but is monitoring the situation. Unilever, Boots, Marks & Spencer, and King of Shaves have promised to finish production by the end of 2015. L’Oréal, Johnson & Johnson, and Reckitt Benckiser have said they will stop by 2017.
In California, the 5 Gyres Institute authored the bill to ban the sale and manufacturing of synthetic plastic mircobeads. The new law will hold companies accountable for such products that pollute waterways and harm wildlife. It only applies to California waters, but should help to set a national precedent. It has been revealed that the Great Lakes are suffering from microbead pollution, so it won’t be surprising if similar laws appear in eastern states soon.