“Microbeads” are tiny plastic particles which are contained in most popular cosmetics today. Now the Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, has threatened to ban microbeads altogether.
Just one bottle of facial scrub contains an average of 300,000 microbeads! These tiny plastic particles are used in many exfoliators, toothpastes, soaps and cleansers.
Microbeads have long been a source of contention, because of the impact each bead has on the environment. Just last month, the 7.30 Report revealed that fish in Sydney Harbour have been swallowing microbeads.
“It all relates to what happens to the waste coming from our households”, experts said at the time. “We also have billions of plastic microbeads ending up in our waterways”.
Now Greg Hunt has warned he will permanently ban microbeads, unless cosmetic companies eliminate their use. “We will continue to work with companies towards a voluntary phase-out of microbeads”, he said.
“If by 1 July 2017 it is clear that the voluntary phase-out will not achieve what is effectively a widespread ban on microbeads, the Federal Government will take action to implement a ban in law”.
Under the Government’s current plan, cosmetic companies in Australia have until July 2018 to remove microbeads from use.
These particles could easily be replaced with natural ingredients like walnut kernels or sand grains. You can read previous Starts At Sixty coverage about microbeads HERE.