In a significant move towards environmental protection, the European Commission has adopted new measures to regulate and restrict the intentional addition of microplastics in products, aligning with EU chemical regulation REACH. These measures are designed to curtail the release of approximately 500,000 tonnes of microplastics into the environment.

Regulations to Curb Micro-plastics

New regulations have been introduced to ban the sale of pure microplastics and products intentionally containing microplastics that are released during use. Derogations and transition periods will be granted where necessary to allow those affected to adjust to the new rules.

Defining the Scope of Restriction 

The scope of the restriction encompasses microplastic particles that are organic, insoluble, and resistant to degradation and are smaller than five millimeters. The primary objective is to reduce the deliberate emission of micro-plastics from a wide range of products.

Key Affected Product Categories 

The regulation targets product categories with high micro-plastic use. These include:

  1. 1. Artificial Sports Surfaces: The granular infill material used on artificial sports surfaces is recognized as the largest source of intentional microplastics in the environment.
  2. 2. Cosmetics: Microplastics in cosmetics serve multiple purposes, such as exfoliation (microbeads) and achieving specific textures, fragrances, or colors.
  3. 3. Household Products: Detergents, fabric softeners, glitter, fertilizers, plant protection products, toys, medicines, and medical devices, among others.

Exemptions and Responsible Usage

While industrial products that do not emit micro-plastics during use are exempt from the sales prohibition, manufacturers must include guidance on the product’s proper use and disposal to prevent micro-plastic emissions.

This comprehensive regulatory approach underscores the European Commission’s commitment to safeguarding the environment and public health by addressing the issue of intentionally added microplastics.



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