The UK’s environment secretary Michael Gove has confirmed that UK companies will have to stop using microbeads in their products at the start of next year, and by June 2018 it will be against the law to sell products with microbeads.

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove

Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastics found in items such as toothpaste and body washes that are said to have a bad effect on marine life.

Manufacturers tend to use them as they can help make products abrasive and wash off dry skin, but research has shown that a single shower can lead to up to 100,000 beads entering the ocean, with water pipe filters unable to catch them before they enter the sea.