Earlier this year, the U.K. announced it will start banning microbeads by the end of 2017.
One year later, Canada will follow suit.
The federal government released a series of regulations for microbeads in toiletries that will see prohibition of the manufacture, import, sale or offer for sale of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads.
It’s the logical next step following the government’s listing them a toxic substance earlier this year.
Microbeads, if you’re unfamiliar, are those tiny plastic fragments in skincare and other beauty/hygiene products for the purpose of exfoliation. The problem, of course, is that they’re often washed down the sink and enter our waterways since they’re too small to be filtered by treatment plants.
“The scientific literature indicates that microplastics are readily taken up by a variety of non-human organisms and have shown adverse short-term and long-term effects in aquatic organisms such as marine mammals, fish, invertebrates and fish-eating birds,” reads a statement from the Department of the Environment and Department of Health.
“In Canada, plastic microbeads (10,000 kilograms of which were produced in Canada alone in one year) have been reported in coastal British Columbia, the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence, and in coastal Atlantic Canada.”
Prohibition of the manufacture and import of exfoliating or cleansing toiletries that contain plastic microbeads is targeted to come into effect on January 1, 2018, while banning the sale or offer for sale of these products is proposed for July 1, 2018.