Products containing microbeads to be taken off shelves today

  • 07/06/2018

Environmentalists are celebrating with most products containing plastic microbeads to be taken off the shelves for good on Thursday.

It is now illegal to manufacture or sell products - including toothpastes, hand soaps and body cleansers - that contain the harmful plastic beads.

Ben Mansfield from the Plastic Diet organisation told Newshub even the smallest pieces of plastic can cause great harm to our environment.

"Even if it's not a massive volume, it's just it can enter the food chain at the very bottom and then it can just bio-accumulate.

"[The law change] will stop a lot of our fishing impacts where we're having a lot of plastic in seabirds as well as fish, and it'll also phase out a lot of the chemical pollution that microbeads have in attracting chemicals and spreading them all around the country."

Those who break the rules can face fines of up to $100,000.

But while Greenpeace has applauded the ban, it says the policy falls short by not including things like makeup and supermarket plastic bags.

The Government is also working on a ban of single-use plastic bags, Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said on Wednesday - adding an announcement could be only months away.

Jacinda Ardern said the Government is "just waiting on advice".

"I'm very eager to see that quickly - there's obviously a huge issue that the globe is dealing with that New Zealand needs to deal with too," Ms Ardern told The AM Show.

Newshub understands the ban will go to Cabinet soon - and barring any hiccups of the NZ First variety, will likely pass.

There are no plans as of yet to ban straws and other plastics.