‘Make or break' time for microbeads ban, say campaigners
Water companies and environmental campaigners have joined forces to call for a comprehensive ban on microbeads in consumer products, amid warnings that the current government proposals do not go far enough.
Proposals contained in the Government’s consultation on the issue, which closed yesterday, would see the ban limited to microplastic ingredients of 5mm or less in ‘rinse off’ personal care and cosmetic products. However, other products containing microplastics could continue to be sold.
Campaigners from the Microbeads Coalition said it was ‘make or break time for the microbeads ban’, and called on the Government to implement a complete ban on microplastic ingredients.
The campaign group includes businesses such as health and beauty brand Neal’s Yard Remedies; NCH Europe, which produces industrial cleaning products; Anglian Water, who are leading the national campaign on unflushables; the Environmental Investigation Agency, Fauna & Flora International, Greenpeace UK, and the Marine Conservation Society.
It is calling for the adoption of alternative guidelines developed by Fauna & Flora International, and recommended by the Environmental Audit Committee, which would include all solid water insoluble plastic ingredients smaller than 5mm used for any purpose (not just for exfoliation) with no lower size limit. The legislation should cover all products that are washed down the drain or discharged into the aquatic environment. Furthermore, the campaigners say that so-called ‘biodegradable’ plastics should not be allowed to be used as alternatives, as these materials do not degrade in the marine environment. The group also want a clear and prompt timeline for phasing out the ingredients, and a date, within two years of the ban, after which products containing microplastics must not be sold.
The Microbeads Coalition said: “It’s make or break time for the microbeads ban, which must be expanded from the government’s current proposals to ensure that it covers any products containing microplastic ingredients that are likely to enter our seas. It makes no sense for the Government to apply this ban to one industry, whilst leaving others to pollute our oceans with these tiny plastics.”
Anglian Water's Rachel Dyson, who is leading the national campaign on unflushables and is chair of the Sewer Misuse Groups for Water UK and 21st Century Drainage Programme said: “The emerging issue and increasing awareness of the problems caused by microplastics in natural environments is a concern to us all. The Anglian Water region is one of the most ecologically diverse in the UK, containing internationally important wetland habitats and a quarter of England’s best bathing waters. The benefits of reducing the number of pollutions in the natural water environment, including from plastics, are clear to see and we welcome all efforts to achieve this.”
Bernard Daymon, chief executive officer of global water, energy and maintenance solutions provider NCH Europe said: “While I welcome the news that the UK Government is planning to ban plastic microbeads in cosmetic products, this is only a small step to solving the overall problem of microbeads in our oceans.
“It is not just cosmetic products that contain microbeads. Many industrial sites use abrasive hand cleaners that also contain them and so manufacturers of these products must find natural alternatives. For example, using a natural olive-stone scrub instead of plastic microbeads will make a significant difference. NCH Europe has started to phase out such unnecessary ingredients in its industrial products, but more manufacturers must also make the change.
“A cross-industry effort to eliminate plastic microbeads is vital to realise the UK Government’s vision of clean and healthy oceans. Putting such a ban in place that goes beyond cosmetics would truly establish the UK as a progressive and pioneering country in the post-Brexit world.”
- Ofwat launches consultation on water company licence changes Ofwat has gone out to consultation on a number of proposed changes to the licences of the 17 largest water companies. Read More >
- £250k fine for Thames Water sewage spill Thames Water is to fund a National Trust warden and has taken other preventative measures after was slapped with a £250,000... Read More >
- Feed-in Tariff for large-scale AD could be scrapped The government has proposed scrapping the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for anaerobic digestion installations of between 500kW and... Read More >
- Interview: Ben Jeffs, Chief Executive, MOSL “The whole industry has really mobilised around market opening, and the water companies deserve credit for that.” Read More >
- Close-Up: Who will be the big fish in the new water retail market? With a £2.5BN new market for non-domestic water retail to open in England in April, joint ventures, incumbents and new... Read More >
- Water Industry Procurement: could Brexit provide a fresh start? Could Brexit lead to a re-examination of the procurement rules which govern the water industry and other infrastructure... Read More >
- Industry View: Let's not drop the ball after PR19 There must be better alignment between PR19 strategic plans and actual delivery plans if water companies are to get full... Read More >
- Close-Up: From Sludge to Bioresources As a separate price control for sludge takes shape for PR19, who will be the winners from the new market for bioresources? Read More >
- Supply Network Manager Starting salary: Grade SF £30,767 - £41,226 Job description: Looking for your next career move in water supply? If so, we may have a fantastic... Read more here.
- Repair and maintenance ganger (team leader) Taunton Location: Taunton Starting salary: Dependent on experience and training certificates, plus standby allowance and call out Package: 45... Read more here.
- Repair and maintenance ganger (team leader) Yeovil Location: Yeovil Starting salary: 26,520 - 28,560 salary dependent on experience and training certificates, plus standby allowance and call... Read more here.
- Repair and maintenance ganger (team leader) Cossington Location: Cossington Starting salary: £26,520 - £28,560 salary dependent on experience and training certificates, plus standby allowance... Read more here.