Campaigners Call For Tougher Microplastic Restrictions in the Beauty Industry

2 min reading time

We all know that plastic packaging is bad for the planet. That’s why an increasing number of consumers reach for recyclable or refillable products when they’re stocking up their beauty bags. But plastic isn’t just on the outside of our products. It’s on the inside too.

According to the Plastic Soup Foundation, a marine conservation nonprofit, nearly 90 percent of beauty products contain microplastics.

The group has put together a list of more than 500 microplastic cosmetic ingredients, but a few examples include polyurethane, nylon, and polyethylene. The latter is one of the most common microplastics in the cosmetics industry, used in everything from mascara to foundation.

Earlier this month, a representative of the Plastic Soup Foundation appeared on a panel with several environmental experts, including Professor Hans Peter Arp from the Department of Environmental Chemistry NGI & Department of Chemistry and Dr. David Green from the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Marine & Coastal Zone Management.

They agreed that the EU needs to crack down hard on microplastics in beauty.

EU legislation needs to go further

When they enter the waterways, microplastics negatively impact ecosystems and can cause neurotoxicity and oxidative damage to fish.

Research from 2019 found that polyethylene, which is also used to make bottles, bags, and other plastic products, was one of the most common microplastics impacting wild fish in the North-East Atlantic Ocean.

The European Commission is currently preparing legislation to restrict microplastic in cosmetics. But the Plastic Soup Foundation is concerned it does not go far enough.

According to the organization, the definition of microplastics in the proposed legislation only covers a small percentage of the microplastics currently used in the beauty industry.

The foundation is also concerned about the amount of time given to brands to adapt to the legislation. Right now, they will have eight years to comply.

To sign the nonprofit’s petition urging the European Commission to do more to ban microplastics, click here.

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