The Environment Minister Nick Smith has just proposed a ban on the manufacture and sale of personal care products containing microbeads in NZ under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.

These harmful plastic microbeads are unnecessarily put in the face scrubs and toothpastes many people use every day. They are too small to be filtered, so end up polluting our oceans, where seabirds, turtles and fish mistake them for food.

It’s good news that there’s a proposal to ban the beads and it’s great that it has been opened to public consultation. Now it’s essential that as many people as possible make a submission calling on MfE and Nick Smith to close any loopholes and to ensure that it’s a blanket ban to keep these tiny harmful plastics out of our oceans.

Here are the two most important things we need included in the proposed ban:

  1. The law must cover all microplastics. Marine life doesn’t distinguish between plastic from a face wash and plastic from a washing detergent, so the microbeads ban must cover all plastics in all household and industrial products that can go down our drains. We’ve seen other countries, like the U.S., use really narrow definitions that allow heaps of nasty products to stay on the shelves. We can’t let that happen in New Zealand.
  2. A legislative ban must be introduced straight away. In other countries, like Australia, they’ve opted to let the manufacturers and retailers voluntarily ‘self-regulate’. We know this isn’t effective. Plastic Diet exposed just a few months ago how New Zealand companies who claimed to be phasing out microbeads still had heaps of products for sale. Only an actual legal ban on microbeads will get these harmful products off our shelves.

Please send this submission urging MfE and Nick Smith to do all they can to ban these destructive plastics and feel free to edit as you like.

Please note that, unless you clearly specify otherwise in your submission, the Environment Ministry will consider that you have consented to website posting of both your submission and your name.

Submissions close at 5.00pm on Tuesday 28 February 2017.

There’s more information here and instructions for how to make your own submission via the MfE website.

This is a joint campaign in collaboration with: