Brussels, 25 September 2023 – In a landmark move to protect the environment and human health, the European Commission has unveiled a series of measures aimed at banning the intentional addition of microplastics to products under the EU chemicals regulation REACH. This groundbreaking initiative not only targets the sale of pure microplastics but also the manufacture of products intended to include and release microplastics during use.
The new restriction by the European Commission has casts a wide net, including cosmetics, detergents, soft tissue products, glitter, plant care products, toys, pharmaceuticals, medical devices.
The new rules not only prohibit the sale of such products but also requires manufacturers to provide adequate handling and disposal guidelines, aimed at reducing microplastic emissions during the product’s lifecycle. This comprehensive approach to the microplastics problem demonstrates the EU’s commitment to environmental protection and public health.
The adoption of this policy is in line with the European Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan. The Commission’s another initiative, the Zero Pollution Action Plan, has set a goal of reducing microplastics pollution by 30% in 2030.
To develop these measures, the European Commission requested the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to assess the risks of deliberately added microplastics in products. The ECHA’s evaluation concluded that such microplastics are released into the environment in an uncontrolled manner, thus requiring regulatory intervention. Based on this scientific evidence, the Commission formulated a restriction proposal under REACH, which was approved by EU countries and won pre-approval in the European Parliament and the Council before being adopted.