Ban of Microplasctic in Cosmetics
Changes in cosmetic regulation in Europe
When can we expect complete ban of microplastic in cosmetic products?
On September 25, 2023, the European Commission took a significant step by adopting restrictions on intentionally added synthetic polymer microparticles, commonly known as microplastics, in various consumer and professional products. This move is aimed at combating the pollution caused by these intentionally added microplastics.
Cosmetics Europe is aligned with the concerns surrounding microplastic pollution and fully supports the European Union’s broader objectives in addressing this environmental challenge. Ensuring the safety of cosmetic products for both consumers and the environment is a top priority for the cosmetics and personal care industry.
The adoption of these restrictions by the European Commission provides much-needed clarity on crucial aspects, including the definition of microplastics. Cosmetics Europe welcomes this development as it eliminates uncertainties surrounding the restrictions.
Cosmetics Europe acknowledges the complexity of reformulating leave-on cosmetics in the absence of suitable alternatives and appreciates the European Commission’s partial recognition of this challenge. While the intentional addition of microplastics from cosmetic and personal care products makes up a minimal contribution to overall aquatic plastic litter, our industry remains committed to addressing this issue.
Notably, Cosmetics Europe had already recommended its members to phase out plastic microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics eight years ago. Moving forward, our industry is committed to removing the small volume of synthetic polymer microparticles in cosmetics products covered by the ban within the specified transition periods. Collaboration with the European Commission and other stakeholders will continue to address unclear aspects of the restriction, particularly regarding labeling requirements.
Expected transitional periods
It’s essential to be aware that cosmetic products containing synthetic polymer microparticles, except microbeads, including those with glitter, have specific transitional periods. The sale of these products is permitted until October 16, 2027, for rinse-off cosmetics, October 16, 2029, for leave-on cosmetics, and October 16, 2035, for make-up, lip, and nail cosmetics.
Ban of microbeads in cosmetic products
Therefore, until when we are actually allowed to sell cosmetic products before complete ban of microplastic in cosmetic products?
The European Commission has clarified that the sale of cosmetic products containing microbeads is banned as of October 17, 2023. Additionally, the sale of plastic glitter on its own or in products without specified transitional periods is prohibited from the same date. However, this ban does not apply to inorganic, biodegradable, or water-soluble glitter, or when used at industrial sites. Products containing synthetic polymer microparticles placed on the market before October 17, 2023, are not required to be recalled or withdrawn but can continue being sold.