ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, submitted on 30 January an official proposal to restrict microplastic particles that are intentionally added to mixtures used by consumers or professionals. ECHA believes that if the restriction is adopted, the amount of microplastics released in the environment in the EU would drop by some 400 thousand tonnes over 20 years.
Intentionally created microplastics represent between 15-31% of all microplastics found in the oceans. The other sources of microplastics, also known as secondary microplastics originate from the degradation of larger plastic objects (bottles, bags…).
In September 2018, the European Parliament approved a plastics strategy which aims to increase the recycling rate of plastic waste in the EU, as well as an EU ban on certain single-use plastic products. They furthermore called on the European Commission to introduce an EU-wide ban on intentionally added microplastics in products such as cosmetics and detergents.