Microbead laws and regulations limit the manufacture, import, sale, use and disposal of microbead products. Microbead legislation can be seen as a ‘gateway to microplastic regulation’, bringing microplastic pollution to the public eye in a tangible way. This “low hanging fruit” legislation can be a stepping stone to help rally support around more technical microplastic pollution regulation. At this point many companies are phasing out microbeads in personal care items and it is a relatively easy campaign win.

Microbead Voluntary Initiatives are also being adopted by several countries. While usually not legally binding, voluntary actions are still noteworthy. They can reduce the use and sale of microbead containing products and contribute to the reduction of marine litter. In addition, voluntary measures may form the basis of binding limits in the future.


CURRENT LEGISLATIONNew Zealand, Taiwan, Canada, US, France, Italy, Republic of Korea, Sweden, England, Scotland, Wales, North Ireland

PROPOSED: Brazil, India

Compare Characteristics of Microbead Regulations

2018 UNEP Report An Overview of Regulatory Approaches Controlling Microbeads