Ireland to become first EU country to ban microbeads in shower gels, scrubs, and cleaners 2 years ago

Ireland to become first EU country to ban microbeads in shower gels, scrubs, and cleaners

A great move for the environment.

Ireland is to become the first county in the EU to ban microbeads in shower gels, scrubs, and cleaners.


The Microbeads Prohibition Bill, which is set to be introduced to the Dáil, will restrict the use of rinse down the drain products that include the small plastic beads.

The ban will include shower gels, soaps and scrubs as per some other European countries, but will be the first to include household cleaning items that can also be washed down the drain.

The law would make it an offence to sell, supply, or manufacture such products due to the environmental harm they can cause.

Microbeads are generally no larger than one millimetre in size and are most commonly made from polyethylene. However, some microbeads are also made from other plastics such as polypropylene and polystyrene.

Rinsing microbeads down the drain can cause plastic particle pollution in water. The beads can also prove hazardous for fish and animals living in fresh water and oceans.

Microbeads end up in fresh waters and oceans due to their ability to pass unfiltered through sewage treatment plants.


The UK introduced a ban the use of microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products in 2018, with France, Canada, and the US introducing similar bans in the years before and after.

Ireland began discussing a ban on the sale, manufacture, import and export of products containing plastic microbeads as early as 2016.

A law was expected to be put to the Dáil last year but the bill was delayed.

The new Microbeads Prohibition Bill is now at the committee stage where amendment will be debated.

The bill will not include products that are made to be worn-on and not washed off.