Image Credit: Natracare
On 2nd November 2021, a bill to ban the use of plastics in single use wet wipes, moist tissues, make-up remover wipes and baby wipes was given it's first reading in the house of commons. The legislation has been proposed by Fleur Anderson, the Labour MP for Putney, who has put forward a Bill to prohibit the manufacture and sale of wet wipes containing plastic.
It has long been known that wet wipes - even those which are labelled as flushable - are the cause of blockages in the UK's sewers, as can be seen in this this BBC report into the problems caused by wet wipes in London's sewers. These are caused by "fatbergs" which form when non-biodegradeable material, such as plastic containing wet wipes, are flushed into sewers, and mix with fat and oil, which sticks them together into one big lump.
However if you are not quite ready to break your wet-wipe addiction but don't want to add to the 300,000 sewer blockages a year which cost water companies around £10M per year to clear there are lots of brands of plastic-free wet wipes that you can buy in the UK.
However, it must be pointed out that even if the wet wipes, moist wipes, toilet tissues or baby wipes that you choose are described as flushable, biodegradeable, plastic free etc., they should never actually be flushed down the toilet, but always disposed of in your household waste.
The UK sewerage system is only designed to cope with ordinary toilet paper, which readily disintegrates when flushed.
A better solution for the environment is to use something reuseable; there are reusuable options for make-up remover pads, baby wipes and wet wipes such as the ones available at &Keep and Love The Planet.
However in real life, a wet wipe can be a practical solution in many situations. These brands all make 100% plastic free wet wipes and baby wipes from a variety of natural biodegradeable materials such as cotton, bamboo and other plant fibres.
The Cheeky Panda Bamboo Wipes come in different formats - baby wipes, handy wipes and facial wipes. All are made with fast-growing bamboo so are compostable, vegan friendly and cruelty-free.
Natracare Organic Cotton Baby Wipes are biodegradeable as they are made from organic cotton. they are also infused with organic apricot oil, chamomile and linden.
Natracare also make a range of period products and make-up remover pads from organic cotton which are also plastic free/
Kit & Kin Biodegradable Baby Wipes are made from sustainably sourced plant based materials and come in recyclable packaging made from 50% recycled materials. Every pack sold helps protect acres of precious rainforest and support the local communities in these areas with educational scholarships and healthcare.
WaterWipes are made from 100% plant fibres making them compostable and biodegradeable. They get their name from being made with 99.9% water and just a drop of fruit extract to act as a gentle skin conditioner. They are also are the only baby wipes to be approved by Allergy UK, registered with The Vegan Society and awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.
ECO by Naty are a well-established maker of eco disposable nappies and nursing pads, as well as baby wipes, moist toilet tissue and sensitive wipes. Made using materials from sustainably managed forests, they are free from chlorine, alcohol, parabens, phthalates and artificial fragrances as well as being compostable, biodegradable and suitable for vegans.
Storksak Organics Face and Hand Wipes are made from 100% organic cotton and scented with English pear, honey and chamomile. They are also biodegradeable and dermatalogically approved. Storksak is a British brand who also make baby changing bags and organic baby toiletries.
Mum & You baby wipes are made from sustainably sourced, naturally derived viscose - a special material made from renewable wood fibre on Earth. So these wipes are 100% biodegradable and come in 100% recyclable packaging. Rated by Mumsnet, these wet wipes contain 99.4% water for ultimate kindness to baby’s skin.
Combat Wipes are aimed squarely at outdoor types, recommended for camping, travel, backpacking, and presumably for when you are out on manouveres as they are described as outdoor wet wipes, developed by elite military soldiers. Made from plant fibres, they are biodegradeable, and the makers suggest that you can bury them after use.
Whatever type of wet wipes you choose, remember to always dispose of your baby wipes, facial wipes or moist tissues responsibly, and never flush them down the toilet. You can compost them if possible, and if not they should be included in your household waste.