You know those little plastic microbeads you find in many exfoliating shower gels, facial scrubs and toothpastes? Well, they will be banned in all cosmetics in the UK from 30 June after MPs voted against their use. Brilliant news for the environment! For years we've all used microbead products wondering where those little beads go after they wash down the drain. Well sadly, many of them end up in the sea as they are so small – just one shower can send 100,000 microbeads into the ocean, which can end up in the stomachs of sea life and enter the food chain. Thank goodness something is being done.
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, said: "Microbeads might be tiny, but they are lethal to sea creatures and entirely unnecessary. We have led the way in banning these toxic pieces of plastic, but this is by no means the end in our fight. We will now press ahead with our proposals for a deposit return scheme and ban other damaging plastic such as straws”.
Environmental campaigners have been warning of the dangers of microbeads in cosmetics for years. Back in 2016, McFly's Dougie Poynter wrote an open letter in US website Huffington Post on this very issue. He wrote: "Small Fish eat these beads thinking they are food. Big fish eat the little fish. We eat the big fish. One in four fish that we eat has consumed a microplastic that can be traced back to face scrubs and toothpaste. You get the point".
Dr Sue Kinsey from the Marine Conservation Society said: "We are delighted that this robust microbead ban has come into force. This is the strongest and most comprehensive ban to be enacted in the world so far and will help to stem the flow of microplastics into our oceans." She added: "We believe that this signals a real commitment on the part of this Government to clean up our seas and beaches and we look forward to seeing further actions to combat plastic waste”.
Time to bin all those microbead products and choose ocean-friendly cosmetics for exfoliating. Well done Parliament!