Manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care products will no longer be able to add ‘microbeads’ to products such as face scrubs, toothpastes and shower gels after a ban on their production came into effect this week.
Billions of the beads end of in the ocean every year causing serious harm to marine life and littering beaches.
The UK government said the ban on their use was a landmark step and represented one of the world’s toughest bans on plastic pollution.
“Microbeads are entirely unnecessary when there are so many natural alternatives available, and I am delighted that cosmetics manufacturers will no longer be able to add this harmful plastic to their rinse-off products,” said environment minister Thérèse Coffey.
“Now we have reached this important milestone, we will explore how we can build on our world-leading ban and tackle other forms of plastic waste.”
A ban on the sale of products containing microbeads will follow later in the year.