Any new formulations in personal care and household products will be free from microbeads, as well. The store will also “encourage” brands it sells to phase them out. The ban was announced by the retailer's group quality director, Tim Smith, at a Greenpeace sponsored event last week.
“All own-label products are now being made free of microbeads and we expect all previous stock to be off our shelves by the end of the year," explained a Tesco spokesperson. "We are also actively encouraging brands to match our commitment.”
The move follows an announcement by fellow UK retailer Waitrose, earlier this year, that it would not stock any cosmetic products containing the beads from September. According to the retailer, its own-label products have never contained them.
Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner Elisabeth Whitebread, said Tesco was “taking the lead and showing that companies can commit to a complete ban.
"It's only through this kind of concerted action from companies and governments that we'll tackle the urgent problem of ocean plastic pollution," she added.
In September, UK Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom announced plans The government will consult industry, environmental groups and other relevant parties to establish how and when a ban could be introduced, aiming to change legislation next year. It will also gather evidence on the environmental impact of microbeads in household and industrial cleaning products.
But NGOs have criticized the government plans for focusing solely on personal care products and called for a comprehensive ban on all products containing them.