With all the commotion surrounding the turn of a new year, it can be hard to keep up with all the new laws and regulations that take effect every January 1st.
Like Ontario’s sneaky minimum wage increase to $14 an hour as of a few days ago.
Another significant change to take effect on January 1st, 2018 is the ban of microbeads. For those unfamiliar, microbeads are tiny plastic particles (less than a millimetre in diameter) that are used in exfoliating personal care products. And while they may feel great on your skin, they’re not so great for the environment. Some studies suggest that between 15 and 51 trillion microplastic particles have accumulated in the ocean, which are a hazard to marine life.
Canada joined a growing list of countries to call for a ban on microbeads – the Netherlands being the first in 2014 – when the federal government published the Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations in June of last year.
“The regulations will prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of toiletries used to exfoliate or cleanse that contain plastic microbeads, including non-prescription drugs and natural health products,” said Health Canada in a statement.
Microbeads will be phased out in two stages:
As of January 1, 2018: the manufacture and import of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads will be prohibited unless the toiletries are also natural health products or non-prescription drugs, in which case the prohibition will begin July 1, 2018.
As of July 1, 2018: the sale of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads will be prohibited, unless the toiletries are also natural health products or non-prescription drugs, in which case the prohibition will begin July 1, 2019.
First steps to outlaw microbeads in toiletries were made in June 2016 when the Canadian government listed them as a “toxic substance.”
“Microbeads may reside in the environment for a long time and continuous release of these substances to the environment may result in long term effects on biological diversity and the ecosystems,” reads a 2015 government report calling for their consideration as a toxic substance. “Based on the available information, it is recommended that microbeads be considered toxic under subsection 64(a) of the Act.
It’s estimated that approximately 100,000 kilograms of plastic microbeads were imported into Canada in 2014.