EU guidelines on microplastics: Impact on sourcing in China

What future restrictions on microplastics might mean for importers of toys and other products.

Although not yet legally established, the European Commission recently shared its thoughts on a possible adjustment to the REACH regulations regarding microplastics. This adjustment could directly impact several product categories, including toys and arts and crafts kits, which are often imported from China. If you are sourcing in China, it is important to keep a close eye on these developments. In this blog we investigate what this line of thinking of the European Commission can mean for your sourcing strategy.

Why is this relevant?

Although not yet formal legislation, the European Commission's exchange signals a clear move towards stricter microplastic regulation. Companies that think ahead can use this information to proactively adjust their sourcing and production processes.

Role of a sourcing agent

A sourcing agent can play a crucial role in anticipating potential regulatory changes. From screening suppliers to providing information about sustainable importing; an experienced sourcing agent can help you minimize risks and prepare for future changes.

Consequences for products from China

China is a major source for many products potentially affected by future microplastics regulation. By anticipating these possible changes now, you can gain an advantage over competitors and reduce your business risk. 

Below is a list of items that may be affected:​

  • Toy sets for children (e.g. craft sets with glitter)
  • Party supplies such as confetti and streamers
  • Christmas decorations with glitter or artificial snow
  • Textile products with glittering finishes
  • School supplies such as glitter glue or glitter markers
  • Paint and varnishes with glitter or other microplastics
  • Fishing tackle and bait with glitter particles
  • Sports equipment with rubber or plastic components that can release microplastics
  • Garden products such as potting soil with water-absorbing crystals​
  • Pet care products with scrubbing effect

As mentioned, this still depends on the final content of the law.

Getting ready: our recommendations

  1. Risk analysis: Identify which products in your range may be affected by the upcoming regulations.
  2. Supplier research: Make sure your suppliers in China are aware of the potential changes and ask them to suggest alternatives.
  3. Sustainability: Consider switching to more sustainable materials now, even before the new regulations come into effect.
  4. Documentation: Keep all communications and changes well documented so you can easily demonstrate that you have acted proactively should regulatory changes arise.


The European Commission's recent communications on microplastics provide valuable insight into possible future regulations. Although it is not yet law, it is a clear signal that companies must prepare for changes. By taking action now, you can adapt to possible new rules and strengthen your position in the market.

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