The European Union ban on the use of almost all kinds of micro-plastic, which began to operate from the beginning of this month, may cause a serious blow to the cosmetics industry – billions of euros may be needed for reimbursement.
The EU ban on the intentional addition of microplastics in such products as cosmetics, detergents and agricultural fertilizers is expected to cost the cosmetic industry is 8 billion euros. According to the report of the European chemicals Agency (ECHA), this sector will lose from the ban more than others.
Environmental pollution caused by tiny pieces of plastic (annually in the environment gets about 36 000 tonnes of plastic), has become a concern in recent years because of concerns about their impacts on the environment and human health. Europe, which is also the world’s largest cosmetic market, pays special attention to this issue. Amid growing awareness of the amount of small plastic particles that fall into the world’s water resources, the EU did limit their intentional use in products as part of its strategy in the use of plastics.
The UK has already banned the use of plastic microspheres used in exfoliating tools. Anticipating further restrictions, the cosmetic industry has already taken steps to phase out such components in European markets. But a new ban proposed by ECHA goes beyond, and will be applied to other forms of micro-plastic that still added to a wide range of cosmetic products.
Representatives of beauty industry had previously opposed a ban different types of micro-plastic, claiming that the replacement materials will be technically complex and costly, and the amount of pollution by such substances in cosmetic products is negligible. According to the trade Association Cosmetics Europe in 2018, the ban will force the industry to develop new formulations for 24 172 products without a single available alternative, and would cost the sector more than 12 billion Euro per year lost revenue.
American Association of cosmetics, toiletry and perfumery industry (CTPA) reacted critically to the proposal of ECHA, stating that there is no scientific evidence that the microplastics used in cosmetics, are a source of pollution of the marine environment. “CTPA very disappointed with the EU ban because it will have a disproportionate impact on the beauty industry without measurable benefit to the marine environment,” said Director General of the CTPA’s Emma Meredith, warning that the ban could seriously affect the cosmetic products available to consumers. ECHA stated that the ban will be preceded by a transitional period that will give the industry time to make necessary changes.