About this document
In late 2020, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment commissioned an independent assessment of rinse-off personal care, cosmetic and cleaning products sold in Australian retail outlets to determine the presence of microbeads, and other non-soluble non-plastic polymers. To represent what was available in the Australian retail market, the assessment focused on what was available in-store and online.
At a 2016 Meeting of Environment Ministers, ministers agreed to support a voluntary industry phase-out of plastic microbeads found in ‘rinse-off’ personal care, cosmetic and cleaning products. The voluntary phase out was led by Accord Australasia and overseen by the then Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy and the NSW Environment Protection Authority.
- Of the approximately 8,100 unique products inspected, 99.3 per cent were free of microbeads and other non-soluble non-plastic polymers.
- For the 0.7 per cent of products that were found to contain microbeads, facial scrubs, facial cleansers, and face masks were the most common product types using microbeads as an ingredient.
- There were no microbeads found in cleaning products or in oral hygiene products, such as mouthwash and toothpaste.