Nick Smith helped initiate the banning of microbeads while National were in power. Photo: File.
Minister for the Environment David Parker and Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage today welcomed Cabinet approval of the regulations banning microbeads.
Plastic microbeads are found in personal care products such as facial cleansers, bath scrubs and toothpaste.
"They get washed down the drain but are too small to be fully captured by our waste water treatment systems," says Mr Parker.
"These minute plastic particles enter the marine environment where they accumulate, do not biodegrade, and are mistaken for food. This causes long-term damage to New Zealand’s marine life."
"This ban was initiated by the previous government and I’d like to acknowledge the work of Hon Nick Smith. We supported the regulations while in opposition and we’re happy to be bringing these regulations into force."
The changes align with similar initiatives in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Australia.
Public consultation on the proposed regulations took place in January 2017 and drew wide public support.
Many submitters urged the government to broaden the scope of the proposed ban to include other products containing microbeads.
In response, the regulation has been widened to include all "wash-off" microbead-containing products for exfoliating, cleansing or abrasive cleaning purposes. This includes household, car or other cleaning products as well as personal care products.
"The market for these additional products is minimal, but we want to prevent a future market developing," says Ms Sage.
"This ban contributes to global efforts to reduce the amount of plastic ending up in our oceans."