The European Commission has requested ECHA to prepare a restriction dossier regarding the use of intentionally added microplastic particles to consumer or professional use products of any kind.
For ECHA, microplastic is “a material consisting of solid polymer-containing particles, to which additives or other substances may have been added, and where ≥ 1% w/w of particles have (i) all dimensions 1nm ≤ x ≤ 5mm, or (ii), for fibres, a length of 3nm ≤ x ≤ 15mm and length to diameter ratio of >3”. In the industrial market, following that definition, microplastics represent the totality of the plastic world, because they are used and moved in pellets ranging from 2 to 3 mm.
Moreover, the suggested legislation is based only on microplastics intentionally added with the propose to ban them from the European market. People who buy and convert microplastics for industrial purpose, on the other hand, can continue to use them with two obligations:
- all the company of the supply chain will have to label the substances as PBT: persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic;
- all the final users will have to report yearly data about volumes, uses, types, etc.
This could have some implications:
- in the future, all the microplastics could be potentially classified as PBT: just think of an accidental fall in the environment during their transportation;
- in the reporting activities, the buyer will have to estimate how many substances could be lost in the environment. Not so easy.
Here you can read the state-of-art of ECHA dossier: “Restricting the use of intentionally added microplastic particles to consumer or professional use products of any kind”