- A Greenpeace survey in the UK found more than 90% of respondents believe microbeads should be banned, and 84% of them would avoid buying products if they were found to be harmful to the oceans, according to Plastics News.
- More than 250,000 UK residents have signed a petition appealing to Prime Minister David Cameron to ban products with these microbeads.
- The British Plastics Federation (BPF) said their policy denounces microbead use in cosmetic applications because they escape into the environment on a large scale once they are washed away. Meanwhile, microbeads will be banned in the US in 2017, and Canada is moving toward outlawing them, too.
The problem with microplastics is they are typically flushed down drains and flow into waterways, eventually making their way to the ocean where they harm marine life. Environmentalists are calling this trend an environmental crisis, as there are more than 3,000 personal care products, such as toothpaste and body wash, that contain polyethylene. As they infiltrate store shelves and eventually oceans, many consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their potential harm.
There is a readily available solution, however, according to Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner Louise Edge.
"Microbeads are one of those rare environmental problems that are actually relatively easy to solve. A ban is easy to introduce and alternatives are already available. Although it would not alone eradicate the problems caused by microplastics, it would set an important precedent in the UK that pumping plastics into our oceans is not acceptable," Edge said as reported in Plastics News.
Already, some cosmetic brands are responding to the public outcry and voluntarily pulling microbeads from their product lines.