Ban on plastic microbeads comes into force in the UK

A UK-wide ban on the manufacture of products containing tiny pieces of plastic has come into force – but the ban on selling such products won’t come in until July

A UK-wide ban on the manufacture of cosmetics and care products containing tiny pieces of plastic known as “microbeads” has come into force.

The move is aimed at protecting the marine environment from one source of plastic pollution, as microbeads are washed down the drain and can enter the seas and be swallowed by fish and crustaceans with potentially harmful effects.

Manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care products will no longer be able to add the tiny plastic pieces to rinse-off toiletries such as face scrubs, toothpastes and shower gels. The ban on the manufacture of products containing microbeads will be followed by a ban on the sale of such products in July.

A report in 2016 found that more than a third of fish in the English Channel are