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New EU legislation is reaching final stage

In January 2019, the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA proposed a wide-ranging restriction on microplastics in products placed on the EU/EEA market to avoid or reduce their release to the environment.

The Commission prepared a draft regulation (published Aug 2022).

That draft regulation will be discussed for the first time with the Member States 23 Sept 2022.

Eventually, the EU Member States will vote on the draft regulation in the REACH Committee.

Before the restriction can be adopted, it is scrutinised by the European Parliament and the Council.

What are microplastics?

"Microplastics' are typically smaller than 5mm

Overall, around 145 000 tonnes of microplastics are estimated to be used in the EU/EEA each year.

Microplastics can be unintentionally formed when larger pieces of plastic, like car tyres or synthetic textiles, wear and tear. But they are also deliberately manufactured and added to products for specific purposes, such as exfoliating beads in facial or body scrubs.

In consumer products, microplastic particles are best known for being abrasives (e.g. as exfoliating and polishing agents in cosmetics known as microbeads), but they can also have other functions, such as controlling the thickness, appearance and stability of a product. They are even used as glitters or in make-up.


Links to documents, and more information on ECHA's homepage: