Microbead beauty products will soon be a thing of the past in the UK, as the government just officially announced plans to ban them by the end of 2017. The tiny, abrasive bits meant to scrub away blemishes have been found to cause harm to aquatic life and their ecosystems after being washed down the drain. The UK follows the US decision to ban the problematic beads after a petition signed by over 350,000 people, but some groups say the ban doesn’t extend far enough.

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Industries have claimed to be phasing out plastic microbeads on their own, but critics say they have been taking too long, thanks to loopholes in their pledges to the public. Dr. Chris Flower, director general for The Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association stated, “It was inevitable. But it will ban something we are not using. The survey we’ve carried out [on members] shows a 70% reduction [in products with microbeads] since 2015, and almost zero by the end of 2018.”

Related: The United States just officially banned harmful plastic microbeads

Greenpeace thinks the ban should extend to other products, according to The Guardian. The group’s ocean campaigner Louise Edge praises the decision while stating, “But marine life doesn’t distinguish between plastic from a face wash and plastic from a washing detergent, so it makes no sense for this ban to be limited to some products and not others, as is currently proposed.”

This week the government will publish its consultation regarding what products will fall under the ban and which will not. Last year, US president Obama signed theMicrobead-Free Waters Act, banning the bothersome beads in personal care products beginning July 1st, 2017. Soon items containing microbeads will be a thing of the past.

Via The Guardian

Images via Shutterstock (1,2)