Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

UK Bans Microbeads to Protect Oceans as Lawmakers Eye More Anti-Plastic Laws

Popular
UK Bans Microbeads to Protect Oceans as Lawmakers Eye More Anti-Plastic Laws
Microplastic poses a growing concern in oceans and other aquatic habitat. 5Gyres / Oregon State University

A ban on microbeads came into force in Britain on Tuesday, an initiative that will “stop billions of pieces of plastic entering our ecosystem, helping to protect our precious seas and oceans," Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted.

Former President Barack Obama signed a bill in 2015 that phased out the manufacturing of face wash, toothpaste and shampoo containing plastic microbeads by July 1, 2017, and the sale of such beauty products by July 1, 2018.


Microbeads are used as exfoliants in personal care products, but these non-biodegradable bits of plastic are easily washed down drains and pass unfiltered through sewage treatment plants. Consequently, the particles have been found in just about every body of water, especially in oceans, lakes and shorelines, causing big problems for the environment, aquatic animals that accidentally ingest the toxin-filled beads, and even our own health as the beads travel up the food chain.

"I am delighted that from today cosmetics manufacturers will no longer be able to add this harmful plastic to their rinse-off products," said Environment Minister Therese Coffey. "The world's seas and oceans are some of our most valuable natural assets. I am determined we act now to tackle the plastic that devastates our precious marine life."

British lawmakers, however, are urging for more action to fight plastic pollution.

“Microbeads in cosmetics are an avoidable part of the problem, which is why we called for a ban," member of parliament Mary Creagh, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, which scrutinizes the UK government's performance on environmental protection and sustainable development, said in a statement.

“This is a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done," Creagh continued. “Since we called for a ban, my committee has also recommended a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles, a latte levy for plastic-lined coffee cups and reforms to make producers responsible for their packaging."

Many businesses in the UK are getting on board with cutting out plastics. Starbucks recently announced a 5p (5 British pennies) disposable cup charge in 20 to 25 central London outlets to encourage customers to switch to reusable cups.

Prime Minister May tweeted on Sunday that in 2015, a 5p fee was introduced on plastic carrier bags, which led to 9 billion fewer bags being used.

"It's making a real difference," she said of the bag fee. "We want to do the same with single use plastics."

Project goal: To create an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to leather, in this case using fungi.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Plastic waste is bulldozed at a landfill. Needpix

The plastic recycling model was never economically viable, but oil and gas companies still touted it as a magic solution to waste, selling the American public a lie so the companies could keep pushing new plastic.

Read More Show Less

Trending

54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Maria Symchych-Navrotska / Getty Images

By Pamela Davis-Kean

With in-person instruction becoming the exception rather than the norm, 54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Initial projections from the Northwest Evaluation Association, which conducts research and creates commonly used standardized tests, suggest that these fears are well-grounded, especially for children from low-income families.

Read More Show Less
A teenager reads a school English assignment at home after her school shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 22, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images

The pandemic has affected everyone, but mental health experts warn that youth and teens are suffering disproportionately and that depression and suicide rates are increasing.

Read More Show Less
In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch