Proposals to ban the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products in the UK and a call for evidence on other sources of microplastics entering the marine environment

Consultation opened on 20 December 2016. Closing date 28 February 2017 at 23:52.


The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA); along with Defra, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government is seeking comments on proposals to ban the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products in the UK.

We are also seeking to gather evidence on the extent of the environmental impacts of further sources of potential marine plastic pollution, to inform future UK actions to protect the marine environment.


Consultation description

Microbeads (small particles of plastic) are a common ingredient in many cosmetics and personal care products such as face scrubs and toothpastes. They are also found in other products such as washing powders and household cleaners.


Microbeads are washed down the drain but are too small to be completely filtered out in sewage treatment systems so a proportion is washed out into the marine environment.


Government action will create a level playing field for industry, tackle inconsistency, provide consumer confidence and stop new products containing tiny pieces of plastic ending up in the marine environment.


The ban will contribute to our vision of “clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas” as set out in the UK Marine Policy Statement.

Ways to respond

Email -
Write to -
Marine Litter Policy Team
Area 8B Millbank
c/o Nobel House
17 Smith Square

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