Following a grace period of six months following the Waste Minimization (Microbeads) Regulations 2017 published, New Zealand is going to officially ban microbeads in cosmetic products.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 084/18

SafeGuardS Women cosmetics

New Zealand published its Waste Minimization (Microbeads) Regulations 2017 on December 4, 2017. Following a grace period of six months, the manufacturer and sale of wash-off products that contain microbeads for certain purposes is officially banned from June 7, 2018.

Microbeads, in this regulation, are defined as a water-insoluble plastic particle that is less than 5mm at its widest point. Wash-off products which provide one or more of the following purposes are not allowed to contain microbeads:

  • Exfoliation of all or part of a person’s body
  • Cleaning of all or part of a person’s body
  • Abrasive cleaning of any area, surface, or thing
  • Visual appearance of the product

Examples are:

  1. “Rinse-off” face, hand and body cleansers, scrubs and exfoliators
  2. Toothpastes
  3. Glitter bubble bath
  4. Abrasive cleaning products for the home, the car and for industrial cleaning

Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) mentions the out-scope products as follows:

  • Personal hygiene products containing natural particles, such as ground nutshells, pumice or other biodegradable materials
  • Products intended for medical use, as defined [1] in New Zealand law
  • Goods that are produced in, or imported into Australia and are lawfully sold in Australia (these goods are recognized under a trade agreement between New Zealand and Australia, the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 [2]
  • Microbeads, including glitter, in wipe-off products, such as cosmetic makeup
  • Microbeads, including glitter, sold as a craft material

Next step:

The EPA in New Zealand recommends that manufacturers, suppliers and retailers arrange the safe disposal of remaining stocks of in-scope products containing microbeads.

Source of Information:

  1. Waste Minimisation (Microbeads) Regulations 2017 [3]
  2. New Alerts in NZ EPA website – Microbeads ban: is your product affected? [4]

For enquiries, please contact:

Queenie TSE
Consumer and Retail
Cosmetics, Personal Care and Household (CPCH)
Senior Technical Service Executive
t: +852 2765 3672 (ext 1672)

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