Proposal to Ban the Sale and Manufacture of Plastic Microbeads in Personal Care Products in New Zealand

Proposal to Ban the Sale and Manufacture of Plastic Microbeads in Personal Care Products in New Zealand



The Government is considering making regulations under the Waste Minimisation Act (WMA) 2008 to prohibit or control the manufacture and sale of personal care products containing microbeads in New Zealand.

Our Seas Our Future and our Plastic Free NZ campaign are in support of this proposal, viewing it as a positive and essential first step in addressing the issue of marine plastic debris in our natural environment.

What is the issue?

Microplastics are tiny bits of plastic less that 5mm. They can be categorised as microbeads, microplastics or microplastic fibers and come from a range of sources; all of these are persistent and non-biodegradable, and accumulate in the natural environment:

  • Microbeads are present in cosmetics and personal care products from face scrubs to toothpaste. They add texture, act as an abrasive or bulking agent, and can prolong shelf-life of the product.
  • Microplastics also occur when bigger bits of plastic break down to smaller and smaller pieces, often via the process of photo-degradation (that’s the sun disintegrating the plastic into smaller and smaller bits).
  • Our synthetic clothing releases microplastic fibres all the time; every time we rub against a surface or give them a good clean we are releasing microplastics into the environment.

The Government’s  current proposal focuses on microbeads only, more specifically those found in personal care products.

Have your say

New Zealand’s waterways and oceans need your help. This is an opportunity to make an amendment to the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 and provide more meaningful legislative protection of our waterways and oceans from microbeads. Let’s make sure the Government gets it right. To make your own submission, go to the Consultation document: Managing microbeads in personal care products web page, or alternatively use our ‘quick submission’ form below.

Submissions are due by 5.00pm Tuesday 28 February 2017.

Make a submission

Use the form below to make a submission and let’s make sure the Government gets this right. Please edit this text how you see fit, with personal notes of why the ban of microbeads is important to you.