Mango Materials Champions Opportunity For 'Naturally Occurring Biopolymer' Use
This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet
The US Microbead-Free Waters Act bans use of plastic microbeads in rinse-off exfoliating or cleansing cosmetics, but Mango Materials’ “naturally occurring biopolymer” isn’t plastic by most standards. Regardless, it can be used in other cosmetic product categories and as an alternative to conventional plastic packaging, so long as future regulation in the US and abroad doesn’t needlessly prohibit the material’s use, the company says.
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UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee recommends “a legislative ban on the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics and other toiletries,” with no mention of restricting prohibitions along microbead-function or product-category lines. Environmental NGOs are pushing for a broader ban than that in the US and seem to have lawmakers’ ear.
Companies could be in a more comfortable position to use biodegradable plastic microbeads in the US – or in markets where their regulatory status is less dicey – when ASTM International reintroduces its standard for marine-biodegradable plastics, potentially by year-end.
FDA likely will need to issue guidance to clarify exactly what materials are covered by the ban on plastic microbead use in selected personal-care products – i.e., a definition of “plastic” – and what the consequences of a violation could be. The issue could be of particular relevance to companies exploring gray-area replacement materials such as biodegradable PHA.