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EU’s Proposed Microplastic Restriction Forces Question: What Level Of Business Cost Is Acceptable?

Executive Summary

As the European microplastic restriction proposal moves toward finalization, with heavy stakes for the cosmetics industry, EU member states and decision makers in Brussels must contend with unresolved questions of proportionality. At a time of global environmental angst and unprecedented economic challenges, what does society value most?

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Cosmetic Microbeads A Drop In The Bucket Compared With Possible EU Microplastic Restriction Impacts

Microplastic-infused leave-on cosmetics targeted by the EU’s proposed restriction are numerous and complexly formulated, and there currently are no viable replacement ingredients, according to Cosmetics Europe. Eliminating plastic microbeads from rinse-off products was a far simpler undertaking, but it still took more than four years and resulted in the discontinuation of roughly half of affected formulations. 

ECHA Defends Proposal For ‘World’s Broadest’ Microplastic Restriction Amid NGO Criticism

NGOs claim the European Chemicals Agency’s proposal for restricting microplastics in cosmetics and other products could “make a growing problem worse” by excluding particles smaller than 100 nanometers. The agency clapped back on 1 September, maintaining its proposal was developed in a scientific manner based on input from all stakeholders, including NGOs.

ECHA Committee Stops Short Of Advising Derogation Or Deadline Extension For Cosmetic Microplastic Ban

Uncertainties related to leave-on cosmetics’ microplastic releases to the environment, and the costs industry would face in removing microplastic from such products, “do not allow for SEAC to conclude whether other options would be more appropriate than a ban,” the European Chemicals Agency’s Socio-Economic Analysis Committee says in a 1 July draft opinion.

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