Environment Protection: Plastics

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 21st July 2016.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans she has to bring forward legislative proposals on banning microbeads and microplastics in all personal care products, washing powders, household cleaners and industrial blast media.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The UK and all other EU Member States have called for the European Commission to come up with proposals to ban microbeads in cosmetics at EU level, as part of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan. These proposals, which we expect to be developed as part of the 2017 Plastics Strategy, will inform the UK's approach to introducing a ban on microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products. However, we are also open to the possibility of the UK acting unilaterally if necessary.

In addition, the UK, in association with neighbouring countries in the Oslo and Paris Convention for the Protection of the North East Atlantic (OSPAR), has developed a Regional Action Plan (RAP) on marine litter. This RAP includes an action to evaluate all products and processes that include primary microplasti­cs (including microbeads) and act, if appropriate, to reduce their impact on the marine environment. This programme of work will help to inform the UK’s approach to other sources of microplastics, such as washing powders, household cleaners and industrial blast media.

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