Wipe-out

With the government’s recent plans on ‘banning’ wet-wipes, it’s time to look for some alternatives...

Although many of our favourite brands of wet-wipes and makeup remover wipes claim to be ‘flushable’, they actually contain non-biodegradable plastic. When flushed then can cause huge problems, not only because of the plastic sitting in our environments and landfills, but also for UK sewers.

Wet wipes cause 93% of blockages in UK sewers, and are a leading problem in the build-up of ‘fatbergs’ – giant mounds blocking our sewers made from fat, wipes, sanitary towels and other nasties.

Fatberg Found in London Sewer - BBC Earth Lab

This has led to the government’s apparent plan to ‘ban’ wet wipes in the UK. However, it’s not quite that simple.

After doing a little digging, it has become clear that there is no ban, just a plan to work together with industry leaders to reduce the amount of plastic packaging, find plastic alternatives, and create a better labeling system on products so we know what we’re buying.

While eliminating single-use plastic waste is one of the Government’s top priorities as outlined in our 25-year Environment Plan, we have not announced plans to ban wet wipes.
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

This isn’t bad news. It just means that big name brands will have to start looking for alternatives, and producing truly flushable and biodegradable alternatives. And why wouldn’t they? According to Rockline (a leading wet wipe manufacturer), the industry was worth over £9bn in 2012. With such a big steak in the market, they’ll be looking for alternatives or they’ll be losing customers.

We’ll just have to be more savvy when shopping, checking the labels, and trying to avoid the non biodegradable options to make sure these manufacturers get the message.

For now, here’s some biodegradable and plastic-free alternatives.

Crochet washcloths

My favourite alternative is this 100% cotton crochet washcloth by Snuggle & Hook. They're based in Lincoln so they have a low carbon footprint, and they're available to purchase from The Beehive so you can also help support local business too!

At just £4, they're better for your skin, more eco-friendly than sponges and can last for years. They can also be thrown in the wash! Snuggle & Hook also make crochet cotton pads, another great plastic-free way to remove eye makeup.

MakeUp Eraser

MakeUp Eraser

MakeUp Eraser

These wash cloths are a popular alternative to makeup wipes, and have featured in magazines including Cosmopolitan and Vogue. They claim to remove makeup with just water, including waterproof mascara, whilst still being sensitive on skin. They're also suitable for the washing machine, and will last 3-5 years.

Yes To wet wipes

Yes To

Yes To

 

Yes To face wipes claim to be 98% natural, vegan and compostable. At £3.99 for 30, they make an easy alternative to plastic-containing wipes, but they're still in plastic packaging.