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Microbeads: A sustainable future

20 June 2018
Feature Brand

At Boots UK, we are committed to bringing our customers great health and beauty brands that they can trust.

For many years, we’ve led the way in product innovation and responsible sourcing, and we have a strong commitment to making sure that our products don’t have an adverse effect on the environment.

In 2014, we were one of the first health and beauty retailers to make a commitment to remove plastic microbeads from all of our own brand and exclusive rinse-off personal care products.

Plastic microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic that can be found in some household items, such as exfoliating scrubs. They are small enough that they are washed down the sink, and can easily pass through water filtration systems and into oceans, which can affect the food chain and marine sea life.

By December 2015, we stopped all manufacturing of Boots Brands and exclusive rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads, and as of 31 December 2017 we made the decision to no longer accept the supply of any rinse-off personal care products which contain plastic microbeads.

From 19 June 2018, a Government ban on the sale of plastic microbeads in rinse off cosmetics products came into effect in England and Scotland. We have implemented this ban across all of our UK stores, including Northern Ireland and Wales.

Andrew Jenkins, Sustainability Transformation & Innovation Manager for Walgreens Boots Alliance, said: “We want to do our bit to make sure that people can shop at Boots with confidence, knowing that the products they pick are not going to do harm to our oceans or environment. That’s why we made this commitment in 2014, and why we want to  continue to play our part in creating a sustainable world for generations to come”


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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and 2,100 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 30 November 2023