The Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) is set to research the effects of microplastics in household goods, and may consider policy changes as part of its commitment to tackle plastic pollution.
It comes after reports that the government was looking for a total or partial ban on the items.
Defra has confirmed it is researching the environmental impact of microplastics as part of its UK REACH Work Programme, but stressed it is just an evidence gathering project at this stage, as reported by Business Green.
Subscribe to Sustainability Beat for free
A Defra spokesperson said: “The UK is already a global leader in combating plastic waste and we have taken major steps to tackle plastic pollution, including microplastics.”
“We are also joining other high ambition countries in supporting the development of a new international legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution, which includes pushing for global action to address microplastic pollution.
“More widely, we have also restricted the supply of several single use plastic items and introduced a world leading plastic packaging tax that is stopping microplastics at their source,” the spokesperson added.
The Plastic Health Council co-founder Sian Sutherland told i news that the government needs to follow the EU’s lead in fully banning intentional microplastics this year.
“The UK once was leading on tackling plastic pollution until we fell far behind the EU, it’s now time for us to regain the lost ground and once again lead the world in putting an end to the plastic health crisis,” she said.