California Bans Plastic Microbeads

State legislators in California have passed the strongest legislation addressing plastic microbead pollution. The bill, AB 888, was officially signed into law by Governor Brown on October 8, 2015.

Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic commonly used as exfoliants in personal care products like soap. The beads commonly evade water treatment plants, and pollute waterways. 

The California bill addresses a common loophole that would allow for the use of plant-based plastics, which, while technically biodegradable in laboratory situations, would not decompose naturally in waterways where the plastic accumulates.

More than 50 pieces of legislation were introduced across the country in 2015 to address microbead pollution, and at least six states currently have passed legislation restricting microbeads.

You can find out more about the issue on our microbeads issue page.