Commission Regulation (EU) 2023/2055 restricting synthetic polymer microparticles on their own or intentionally added to mixtures - better known as “the microplastics restriction” – took effect on 17 October.
To help with the implementation of the new rules the EU Commission is working on a detailed Q&A document, which is expected to be made available on this page by the end of 2023.
The purpose is not to ban all glitter but replace plastic glitter with more environmentally friendly glitter that does not pollute our oceans, says the EU Commission.
For now, EFTTA’s understanding of the ban - based on the legislative text and additional information from EU sources - is as follows:
- The new measures prohibit the sale of microplastics as such, and of products to which microplastics have been added on purpose and that release those microplastics when used.
- Only glitter made of non-biodegradable, insoluble plastic is concerned.
- This is a sales ban, not a use ban.
- Plastic glitter on its own (also called loose plastic glitter) for uses without a transitional period - such as art and crafts, toys - is banned as of 17 October 2023 (unless biodegradable or soluble).
- In case of glittered articles for which the decorative function is secondary - such as textiles used for garments or footwear, glitter is always regarded as an integral part of the article. These glittered articles - eg: clothing, shoes, curtains - are out of the scope of the restriction.
- Plastic glitter is not affected by the ban if, when used, it is trapped in a solid matrix (e.g. glitter glue), solid films (e.g. paints, inks) or solid objects (e.g. inside jewellery, spray can caps, etc.) or is fully contained (e.g. in snow globes).
EFTTA comment: Few, if any, fishing lures with glitter in- or outside will be affected by this ban. But EFTTA encourages the industry to make use of non-plastic glitter in or on their products (‘articles’)*. This will spare you for eventual future tedious discussions about if or how much glitter is released from your product(s) when used short, medium, long term, and if that should be considered a problem or not, or if the glitter is “an integral part of the article” or not.
* Definition of 'article': https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/2324906/articles_en.pdf
Article 3(3) of the REACH Regulation defines an article as “an object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determines its function to a greater degree than its chemical composition.”
In case of any doubts regarding compliance with EU regulations when placing a specific product on the EU single market, you can contact the market surveillance authority in the Member State(s) where the product will be marketed. For an informed opinion, you should provide full technical details on the product in question: