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Environment Protection: Plastics

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 34735, tabled on 19 April 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of banning micro beads.

Answered on

26 April 2016

Microbeads from personal care products are believed to make up a very small percentage of the total amount of microplastics entering the marine environment, with estimates ranging from 0.01% to 4.1%. A ban in the UK would therefore be expected to have only a small impact on the effects on the environment attributed to microplastics. However, microbeads, like other microplastics, do not biodegrade and so accumulate in the marine environment. There are also less harmful alternatives that are suitable to use.

Defra supports voluntary action by industry to phase out microbeads from personal care products, and is supporting other EU Member States in calling for the European Commission to come up with proposals to ban their use in cosmetics and detergents.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.