The EU’s Glitter Ban Goes Into Effect

The glitter ban has officially come into full force across the European Union after the bloc adopted measures that restrict intentionally adding microplastics to loose glitter products. But it does not mean that all glitter is disappearing from the shelves.

The EU chemical legislation REACH aims to reduce emissions of intentional microplastics that are insoluble and degradation-resistant particles below five millimeters.

As of October 17, 2023, loose plastic glitter for uses without a transitional period — such as arts and crafts toys — is banned in 27 European countries.

However, the legislation affects only products made of non-biodegradable, insoluble plastic. This means that friendly alternatives like biodegradable, soluble, natural, or inorganic glitter can continue being sold.

Loose plastic glitter used as a cosmetic product and cosmetics containing glitter will be sold until the end of the specific transitional periods granted to different products.

For instance, glitter in rinse-off cosmetics will be available until October 16, 2027, while glitter in leave-on cosmetics has until October 16, 2029.

Beauty products like makeup, lip, and nail cosmetics that include glitter will be sold until October 16, 2035, but will need to bear a label indicating they contain microplastics from October 17, 2031.

Despite the ban, retailers are allowed to sell out their remaining supply of glitter and products containing it.

In 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibited the use of microplastic beads in manufacturing exfoliating or cleansing products, such as fluoride toothpastes, acne scrubs, antibacterial soaps, and anti-dandruff shampoos.

The EU’s glitter ban is estimated to prevent the release of about half a million tonnes of microplastics into the environment, making a positive impact on the planet and possibly human health.

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