Biodiversity law : the end of plastic microbes and Q-tips!


Updated on the 21th of July 2016

The Biodiversity law has officially been adopted on the 20th of July 2016. It is now certain - the commercialisation of products containing plastic microbeads will be forbidden by 2018 and the same goes for Q tips by 2020. Certain will say it's anecdotal, that it won't solve all problems, but for us, these are two important victories which give meaning to years of work by our team!

When the #LoiBiodiv officialises the end of plastic microbes in 2018 and the end of Q tips in 2020

— Surfrider Europe (@surfridereurope) July 22, 2016

What has been Surfrider's role in all of this?

Our lobbying institution based in Paris and in Bruxelles work all year with the follow-up of french and european texts with a link to our work themes. Then Surfrider works with the elected representatives to allow an evolution and an improvement of the regulation. The Biodiversity law, including a part on the sea and the ocean, our team worked closely with certain deputies and senators in particular with the amendment editor on certain articles concerning marine biodiversity. It has been the work of long fought battle, which has been object to many modifications and negotiations. It's the case in fact with the amendment on the ban of plastic microbes which has been removed due to the fear of certain groupes and industries. It has then been revised and modified in conjunction with our team in Paris and has been adopted under the effigy of a "rectified amendment".

The end of plastic microbeads in our cosmetics.

As explained in our last blog article, (if you haven't read it yet, you can here), numerous cosmetic products contain plastic microbeads. The latter, essentially made from petrol, have a   very harmful impact in the marine environnement. After a long negotiation, an amendment had been voted in the context of the biodiversity law to forbid these famous plastic microbeads. After months of discussion, biodiversity has been adopted and conserves this famous amendment. Thus, as soon as 2018, it will no longer be possible to find in France, cosmetics containing these microbeads.

The end of our Q-tips' plastic sticks

During the Oceanic initiatives 2015, 16226 q tips have been collected, or the equivalent of 15 eiffel towers! 

Each year, the waste removal on the beaches reveal the presence of an impressive amount of q-tips. This phenomenon could be due to the people who throw their q-tips in the toilet… yes you're reading correctly, certain people throw their q tips in the toilet! Being too thin to be held back by the (station d'épuration) the q tips are found in the ocean. The amendment adopted in the biodiversity law will be able to resolve this problem as by the 1st of January 2020, it will no longer be possible to find plastic q tips in commerce. The only q tips exempted of this law will be for medical use. Instead, the plastic sticks will be replaced by biodegradable paper, as weak as reusable stick where only the coton is to be replaced for each use.

A victory, or rather two, which reward the work of important lobbying by our teams but which is also possible thanks to your support!

Léa Daulan, environmental writer

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