About this document
In late 2017, the Department of the Environment and Energy commissioned EnvisageWorks to conduct an independent assessment of personal care and cosmetic products currently available within the Australian retail market.
Between November 2017 and February 2018, an instore survey of 148 retail outlets across the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria was completed. The retail outlet types targeted were; department stores, discount stores, skin care and cosmetics stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and some other store types (e.g. retail outlets selling workshop hand-cleaners and toy stores).
The Meeting of Environment Ministers in February 2015 expressed concern about the impact of microbeads on the marine environment. To address this concern, Ministers asked officials to work with industry to secure a voluntary agreement to phase out microbeads in personal care, cosmetic and cleaning products by no later than 1 July 2018. Ministers stated that if the voluntary phase-out was not effective, they would move to implement a ban.
- Of approximately 4400 supermarket, pharmacy and cosmetic store products inspected, 94 per cent were free of microbeads or other non-soluble plastic polymers.
- No shampoos, conditioners, body washes or hand cleaners were found to contain microbeads, indicating that the phase-out in these products may be successful.
- The remaining six per cent (267 products) are predominantly not rinse-off products and pose less risk of entering marine environments.