Accord BeadRecede campaign: Effectively implementing Australia’s voluntary industry phase out of plastic microbeads in ‘rinse-off’ cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products

Background

In December 2015, Australia’s environment ministers identified solid plastic microbeads in cosmetic, personal care and cleaning products as a source of plastic pollution in Australia’s waterways. Ministers met and agreed to “…secure a voluntary agreement from industry to phase out microbeads in personal care, cosmetic and cleaning products”. The ministers also agreed to a “…phase out period of two years following commencement of the agreement, but no later than 1 July 2018”. It was also made clear that “Ministers will reassess the effectiveness of voluntary action in mid-2017. Ministers were clear that if the voluntary approach does not result in an effective ban they will move at that time to regulate to give effect to a ban”.

Beadrecede logo

Accord Australasia, as the peak industry association for cosmetic, hygiene and specialty products has been coordinating the voluntary industry phase out of plastic microbeads. To facilitate the industry-led phase out, Accord launched BeadRecede in early 2017 as an initiative open to all member and non-member companies engaged in the making and supply of cosmetic, personal care and certain cleaning products included in the scope of the phase out.

BeadRecede serves as a targeted promotional campaign to foster industry awareness and gain industry support for the phase out. It also forms a base for coordinating participation in the voluntary phase out across the industry in a manner that best allows ministers to receive the required progress reports from Accord. Details on the BeadRecede campaign’s launch to the industry can be found in this article. Delivery of the campaign by Accord has been undertaken under the oversight of the Department of Environment and Energy and the NSW EPA.

The effectiveness of BeadRecede in achieving the phase out has been independently assessed and relevant details can be found at www.environment.gov.au/protection/waste-resource-recovery/plastics-and-packaging/plastic-microbeads. The campaign received strong commitment from across the mainstream industry in Australia.

Update following December 2018 MEM meeting

At their most recent meeting on 7 December 2018, Australia’s environment ministers noted in their official communique the successful “(P)hasing out of almost all microbeads from cosmetic and personal care products.”

In order to support the ongoing success of the phase out, in late December 2018 the Commonwealth issued Accord with a monitoring and assurance protocol outlining expectations for the next stages of the BeadRecede campaign (also available on the federal Department’s website from www.environment.gov.au/protection/waste-resource-recovery/plastics-and-packaging/plastic-microbeads). Accord has agreed to maintain a range of actions to support the success of the phase out, as outlined in this protocol, until June 2022.

BeadRecede campaign outreach will continue in 2019 and beyond and Accord will be reminding manufacturers and retailers of continued expectations for microbead-free products as per the scope of the phase out. In accordance with the protocol Accord will also provide reports to the Federal Department, as outlined.

For previous updates, see the BeadRecede – Archive