The move away from microbeads: International progress

Cosmetics companies and regulators have joined forces to stop microbeads pouring into the oceans. So how is the phase out progressing? Sarah Gibbons reports

Shocking media images of animals and birds killed by ingesting plastic in oceans have pricked the collective conscience of personal care product manufacturers and consumers, as industry self-regulation over the use of harmful microplastics appears to have outpaced formal governmental regulation.

Now a global initiative has been launched by the United Nations with an ambitious target of eliminating major sources of marine litter: microplastics in cosmetics and the “excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic”, by the year 2022.

The #CleanSeas campaign, launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at the start of this year, is urging governments to introduce plastic reduction targets, businesses to reduce packaging and consumers to select environmentally friendly products and change their throwaway habits before irreversible damage is done to the seas. And research is ongoing to assess the . . .

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