Q: Why did Cosmetics Europe gather new data?
A: In the 2015 Recommendation to discontinue, in wash-off cosmetic products placed on the market as of 2020: the use of synthetic, solid plastic particles used for exfoliating and cleansing that are non-biodegradable in the marine environment, Cosmetics Europe committed to regularly assess and report the findings on the effectiveness of the European industry’s voluntary action taken. New data on the use of plastic microbeads for cleansing and exfoliating in rinse-off cosmetic and personal care products was gathered in the context of the 2018 ECHA call for evidence on the use of intentionally added microplastics.
Q: Who was requested to provide data?
A: All the members of Cosmetics Europe were invited to provide data.
Q: How representative is the data collected?
The full study developed in response to the 2018 ECHA call for evidence on the use of intentionally added microplastic included data from 56 companies (including SMEs) with businesses across the whole EEA and representing over 50% of the market.
Q: When did the data collection take place and who conducted it?
A: The data was collected in 2018 and covers the annual figures on the use in the year 2017 (with very few companies providing data for 2016 due to the lack of the most recent information).
The data collection was conducted by Cosmetics Europe with the support of EPPA, a Brussels-based specialist management consultancy.
Q: What was the geographical scope of the data collection?
A: The data collection covered the whole European Economic Area.
Cosmetics Europe active and supporting corporate members contributed with their corresponding European data, whereas national associations provided aggregated figures for their respective national association members. To avoid duplication, where a CE corporate member was also a member of a national association, their corresponding data was not included in the aggregated figures provided by a given national association.
Q: What was the information requested from contributors in relation to the implementation of the industry’s voluntary action?
A: For the purpose of data collection, contributors were asked to provide information on the use of all plastic microbeads for exfoliating and cleansing purposes in rinse-off products1.
The information collected included the type of material used, the tonnages and type of particle used in the products.
Q: Where can specific contributions by participants be found?
A: The data collected includes commercially sensitive information and therefore only the aggregated figure mentioned above can be made publicly available.
Q: Will the data collection exercise be repeated?
A: Cosmetics Europe will continue to annually assess and report the findings on the effectiveness of the European industry’s voluntary action, until the final objective of removing all plastic microbeads used for exfoliating and cleansing purposes in wash off cosmetic products ahead by 2020 has been achieved.
More information on plastics microbeads and microplastics can be found here.
 The full scope of the study to respond to the 2018 ECHA call for evidence on the use of intentionally added microplastics was broader and covered all types of cosmetic products, both rinse-off and leave-on ones.