Products containing plastic microbeads cannot be made or sold in New Zealand as of yesterday.

It is now illegal to manufacture or sell some products, including toothpastes, face washes, glitter bubble baths, containing the minute plastic particles and retailers caught ignoring the ban face a fine of up to $100,000.

Microbeads are tiny plastic beads, less than 5mm in size, used to give products texture, act as an abrasive, or provide visual interest. They are a threat to marine life, as they can be mistaken for food.

The Environmental Protection Authority said consumers could continue to use cleansers, toothpastes and cleaning products with beads, until they were finished. Empty tubes should be thrown away with the household rubbish, not tipped down the sink or drain.

Banned products

– Face wash, hand and body cleansers, scrubs and exfoliators.
– Toothpastes.
– Glitter bubble bath.
– Abrasive cleaning products for the home, the car and industrial cleaning.

Not banned

– Microbeads, including glitter, in wipe-off products, such as cosmetic makeup.
​- Microbeads, including glitter, sold as a craft material
– Personal hygiene products containing natural particles, such as ground nutshells, pumice or other biodegradable materials.
– Products intended for medical use.
– Goods that are produced in, or imported into Australia, and are lawfully sold in Australia



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