On Wednesday 26 April, the REACH Committee voted in favour to restrict intentionally added microplastics into products. The restriction includes efforts to progressively phase microplastics out of everyday products like cosmetics, detergents, fragrances, paints, amongst others. Before the official adoption of the restriction, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU will have a three-month scrutiny period, after which the Regulation will enter into force immediately.
The restriction provides that synthetic polymer microparticles (“microplastics”) cannot be placed on the market on their own or, where the synthetic polymer microparticles are present to confer a sought-after characteristic (i.e. intentionally added), in mixtures in a concentration equal to or greater than 0.01% by weight.
Only certain types of polymers are excluded from the definition of microplastics (e.g. degradable polymers) and only few products are exempted from the restriction (e.g. medicinal products, certain fertilizing products, food additives and in-vitro diagnostic devices). For specific uses (e.g. cosmetics, fragrances, detergents, amongst others) the restriction includes transitional periods to allow sufficient time for stakeholders to comply with the restriction and transition to suitable alternatives.
The restriction also introduces information requirements for microplastics for use at industrial site. These include instructions for use and disposal to avoid releases to the environment. Also annual reporting obligations such as estimated releases to the environment will be mandatory.
REACH committee votes to restrict intentional microplastics (europa.eu)
Cindy Vandecasteele, advisor product policy, email@example.com, 0484/773312