Campaign #1: “microplastics in cosmetics and cleaning products” on the EU level
Ocean. Now!’s mission is to connect with all levels of society. On one hand that is all citizens who signed our petition. On the other, it is organisations as NGOs and businesses from the area of cosmetics and cleaning products and apps supporting our cause. Big thanks again to all of our partners Plastic Soup Foundation, Sonett, Annemarie Börlind, CleanClean, Era Zero Waste, PLANET PURE, Coscoon Cosmetics, UND GRETEL, i+m, Codecheck, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Plasticontrol and Zero Waste e.V.. Demanding change as a group is the way to go.
Around mid 2020, it turned out that the results of the so-called “Cosmetics Dialogue” (agreement from 2013 between the cosmetics industry and the German government to voluntarily remove microplastics from products by 2020) were presented as “big progress”. According to Cosmetics Europe, 97% of all cosmetics do not contain any microplastics anymore. Even if this is good to hear, there are two problems:
1) the number only refers to the category of “rinse-off” cosmetics (“leave-on” cosmetics have been ignored) and
2) liquid microplastics (more accurately “soluble synthetic polymers”) have been left out in the regulating progress so far
We are observing the “same old” issue of our society in which big lobbying power is still driving legal regulations. Radical change, which is so much needed to improve the health of our planet, comes along much too slowly!
Is there any progress with this campaign topic to be found in Germany?
There have been tiny steps forward, for example the certification of “Blauer Engel” now also includes a criteria that one kind of liquid microplastics is not allowed. It’s Polyquaternium, a polymer which is often used in hair conditioners and eye make-up removers. The downside though has been that the German Ministry of the Environment is not progressing with a national ban and is moving its effort to the EU level. We suppose the lobbying power of the German chemical industry (and therefore also the plastics and the cosmetics industries) is behind this extreme slowness.
What’s coming up next?
Knowing that Germany plays a substantial role in EU politics, we decided to take our campaign to the EU level in 2020. So we’re active on both the national and international level! You can imagine what this means, we are studying processes in EU politics, in particular those of the European Chemicals Agency and the REACH process. We are maintaining the pressure. We don’t let the big lobbying power by the chemistry and plastics industry override the green economy our planet so urgently needs.
Ocean. Now! works with several NGO partners in Brussels to maintain pressure. With regards to the law-drafting process, we expect a contribution by the EU member countries to the EU Commission in Q2/Q3 2021.