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CTPA Welcomes UK Ban on Plastic Microbeads

20 December 2017

CTPA fully supports the UK Government’s legislation that bans the use of plastic microbeads in rinse-off cosmetic products.  CTPA has been working with the UK cosmetics industry to remove plastic microbeads since 2015 on a voluntary basis as part of a Europe-wide initiative.  As a result, the vast majority of plastic microbeads have been removed from products and UK cosmetic manufacturers are already prepared for the ban.

The new, strict UK law means the manufacture of cosmetic products containing plastic microbeads is banned from 9 January 2018 and the sale of such products must not take place from 20 June 2018

The UK Government has introduced the strongest ban anywhere in the world on plastic microbeads in cosmetic products; based on sound science it is prohibiting those ingredients where they may reach the marine environment.  There is no scientific evidence of contribution to marine litter or harm to marine life from leave-on cosmetic products.  Contrary to many reports, plastic microbeads are not present in make-up, mascara, deodorants or sunscreens.

Dr Chris Flower, Director-General of CTPA, a toxicologist and Chartered Biologist, said:

“CTPA fully supports the UK ban to remove plastic microbeads from cosmetic products, and can confirm that voluntary action by industry ahead of legislation has already been very effective in reducing their use. The problem of plastic pollution in our oceans is serious, and the contribution of the cosmetics industry to it at 0.29%* is extremely small, so we welcome the Government’s plans to address the other 99.7% of plastic pollution and encourage more action to be taken to reduce it.  We must tackle the major sources of plastic pollution and review our use and re-use of plastic, both on a personal and an industrial level, if we are to reduce the presence of microplastics in the marine environment.


Read more:

Plastic Microbeads FAQs 

UK cosmetics industry action

EU voluntary recommendation



* Eunomia “Plastics in the Marine Environment” June 2016
The Eunomia infographic highlights the different contributors of primary microplastics to the marine environment.