‘Microbeads’ to be banned from Scottish cosmetics

Closeup of facewash scrub with microbeads on glass surface
Closeup of facewash scrub with microbeads on glass surface
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Legislation will be introduced in Scotland to regulate the use of plastic “microbeads” in cosmetics, the Scottish Government has said.

The UK government has announced plans to ban microbeads from cosmetic and beauty products, and has launched a consultation.

Microbeads, which are added to products ranging from face scrubs and toothpastes to kitchen cleaners, are washed down the drain into the seas where they can be swallowed by fish and crustaceans with potentially harmful effects.

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said she would work with the UK government and other devolved administrations to ensure a ban is implemented effectively across the UK.

Ms Cunningham said: “Plastic microbeads contained in cosmetics damage our marine environment after literally being washed down the drain.

“Here in Scotland we have already been undertaking research on this issue, raising awareness amongst consumers, and encouraging the use of alternatives. That’s why I am pleased to confirm Scotland will introduce legislation regulating the use of microbeads.We will also work with Whitehall and the devolved administrations to ensure the ban is implemented across the UK.

“Our marine litter strategy is designed to reduce the amount of litter on our coastlines and in the marine environment. We will consider the recommendations of a forthcoming consultation and work with local stakeholders to develop regulation and effective implementation across Scotland.”

Some companies have taken steps to tackle the problem, such as Tesco which has ensured its own brand care and household products will not contain microbeads by the end of this year.