S.B. NO.














relating to environmental protection.





SECTION 1. The legislature finds there is growing public concern about the environmental impact of tiny particles of plastic called microbeads. Barely visible without a microscope, microbeads are gentle scrubbers that are added to numerous personal care products, including shampoos, soaps, and toothpastes. Consumers using products containing microbeads are washing down the drain what many once thought was harmless consumer waste. However, research has indicated that wastewater treatment plants are unable to filter out microbeads and as a result, microbeads pass through sewage systems and eventually enter into waterways where the microbeads can absorb toxic chemicals. These toxic microbeads are then consumed by marine life and passed along the aquatic food chain. Microbeads are not biodegradable and once they enter the marine environment, microbeads are impossible to remove and are a significant source of environmental degradation.

The legislature further finds that several states have already proposed legislation to phase out the sale of personal care products that contain microbeads and in December 2012, Unilever announced that all of its products would be plastic free by 2015. Procter and Gamble, L'Oreal, Colgate-Palmolive, and Johnson and Johnson have also pledged to phase out the use of microbeads in their products. Microbeads are unnecessary, as there are several biodegradable, natural alternatives to microbeads, including oatmeal, ground almonds, and pumice.

The purpose of this Act is to reduce the State's production of waste and its negative impact on the environment by prohibiting the sale of personal care products that contain microbeads and decreasing the accumulation of marine microplastics.

SECTION 2. Chapter 328, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new part to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"Part    . Synthetic PLASTIC MICROBEADS

328-A Definitions. As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:

"Personal care product" means any article intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body or any part thereof for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance, and any article intended for use as a component of any such article, including but not limited to hand and body soaps, exfoliates, shampoos, toothpastes, and scrubs. "Personal care product" does not include a product for which a prescription is required for distribution or dispensation.

"Plastic" means a synthetic material made from linking monomers through a chemical reaction to create an organic polymer chain that can be molded or extruded at high heat into various solid forms retaining their defined shapes during life cycle and after disposal.

"Synthetic plastic microbead" means any intentionally added non-biodegradable solid plastic particle measuring five millimeters or less that is used to exfoliate or cleanse in a rinse-off product.

328-B Prohibition on sale of personal care products containing synthetic plastic microbeads. Beginning on January 1, 2016, no person shall offer for sale a personal care product that contains synthetic plastic microbeads.

328-C Penalties. Any person who violates section 328-B shall be subject to:

(1) For a first violation, a fine of not more than $          ;

(2) For a second violation, a fine of not more than $          ; and

(3) For a third or subsequent violation, a fine of not more than $          ."

SECTION 3. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2015.








Report Title:

Environment; Environmental Protection; Health; Synthetic Plastic Microbeads; Prohibition; Personal Care Products



Prohibits the sale of personal care products that contain synthetic plastic microbeads beginning on January 1, 2016. Requires violators to pay a fine.




The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.