Is the microbeads ban only on rinse off products enough to protect our environment?
A report in 2016 by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee in the UK showed that up to 100.000 microbeads can enter our water system per shower. Since then a lot has been done to prevent marine pollution through microbeads in the UK. A ban was introduced in January 2018 which restricts companies in England & Scotland from manufacturing rinse-off products such as body scrubs, face washes and toothpaste containing microbeads in order to protect our environment. Since June 2018, the ban has been expanded and companies are now not legally allowed to sell rinse off products containing microbeads anymore. Within Europe, Sweden is taking the lead on this important issue. At the United Nations Oceans Conference in 2017, the Swedish Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog said that Sweden will ban rinse off products containing microplastics from 2020. Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxemburg and Norway have also joined this initiative. Even the United States has introduced a "Microbeads Free Water Act" in 2015, which is comparable to the UK and Swedish ban.
However, is the microbeads ban only on rinse off products enough? One can only hope that soon further actions will take place to completely ban micro plastics from all cosmetic and household products. There are encouraging signs that companies are also taking this issue on board, with 448 brands from 119 different manufacturers having promised not to use micro plastics anymore. Until more companies join this new trend, customers are advised to return products which are already restricted in their countries back to the manufacturers, who are obliged to take them back. Another option is to proactively check whether the products you are using at home are free from microbeads. You can either do this by contacting the companies directly or by checking the following list on http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/. Beatthemicrobeard.org is a website powered by "The Plastic Soup Foundation" and sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This website is regularly updated and you can search many different products by country. Lastly, your best option is to look for products with the "Look for the Zero" logo, as these products do not contain any microbeads at all. For more information on microbeads free products please follow this link: http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/look-for-the-zero/.
For more information on the microbeads ban in the UK: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/microbeads-ban-toothpaste-scrubs-plastic-pollution-ocean-uk-government-a8405941.html