Quick update, ahead of a longer statement later this week:
The General Assembly gave final passage to HB216, ban on microbeads in personal care products, last night!
The ban applies to all microbeads made of traditional plastic as well as any so-called biodegradable plastics that cannot biodegrade in wastewater treatment and marine environments. Products on store shelves will start changing in 2018, with all plastic microbeads off the shelves by the end of 2019.
The standards for this biodegradation are still being developed, so MDE will be required to review standards every few years to make sure we have the newest, most stringent regulations. The idea here is that it will be a big pain for manufacturers to reformulate every time the standards change, so they will be strongly motivated to switch to natural alternative ingredients.
At this time, this law is the strongest ban in the country! California had their first hearing yesterday, and they hope to use our bill, and the progress we made in conversations with the industry, to push for even more. Oregon and Minnesota are also still in play.
We have three action items now:
– Celebrate! This is a really big deal!
– Say thank you, particularly to Chairman Kumar Barve and Chairwoman Joan Carter Conway, Delegate Dan Morhaim, and Senator Pinsky. I would also give shoutouts to Delegates Barbara Frush, David Fraser Hidalgo, Clarence Lam, Steve Lafferty, and Jim Gilchrist, and Senator Karen Montgomery.
– Keep educating your networks about microbeads, and alternative products. It’s still going to be several years before these things are off store shelves, so now it’s on us to get people to stop using them.