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The UK’s efforts to reduce single-use plastic waste are gaining momentum and wet wipes are their latest target. As part of a string of new measures to crack down on plastics used in the country, Environmental Secretary Michael Gove is planning to completely “eliminate” the wasteful baby wipes.

Wet wipes may seem like an unlikely candidate for a ban, but what many of us do not realize, is that the wipes are not actually made of tissue paper and are not easily degradable. Most wet wipes are made with plastic resins like polyester or polypropylene. As such, wet wipes never fully biodegrade, they simply break into smaller and smaller pieces – releasing countless microscopic fibers into the environment.

In the UK alone, millions of wipes are thrown down sewers, even though they definitely should not be discarded in that way. According to a study conducted last year by Water UK, wet wipes made up an astounding 93 percent of the material causing blockages. The wipes clog internal plumbing, septic systems, and public sewer systems. Recently, campaigners found more than 5,000 discarded wet wipes alongside the Thames in an area only the size of half of a tennis court, the Guardian reports. The alarmingly voluminous haul was an increase of almost a thousand over the total of wipes collected last year.

“As part of our 25-year environmental plan we have pledged to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, and that includes single-use products that include plastic wet wipes,” said a statement issued by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

If measures to ban wet wipes in the country are taken, the new regulations will have a chance to positively influence British rivers that are now suffering from this specific and dangerous pollution.

Every year, over 8.8 million tons of plastic waste enter the oceans. Among this huge amount of trash are such items as single-use cups, bottles, and straws. To find out how you can help the planet by ditching those and other similar disposables, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

Image source: Your Best Digs/Flickr

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0 comments on “Did You Know Wet Wipes Are Made With Plastic? This Is Why the UK Wants Them Banned”

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JOHN PASQUA
5 Months Ago

BAN THIS CRAP NOW.


Reply
Jennifer
5 Months Ago

So, we are all supposed to be more conscious about the environment, and yet businesses continue to make/sell items that are not good for the environment. One item that stands out for me, too, is the pods for keurig and tassimo. I abandoned mine a long time ago because they can\'t be recycled. For every item that is not environmentally friendly, the consumer is expected to pay for that--plastic bags, plastic bottles, pods, wipes--the list goes on and on. What is wrong with this picture? There needs to be a stipulation in place that says if it is not good for the environment, then it cannot be put on the market, especially since we CAN live without this stuff.


Reply
Trish
10 May 2018

I agree. I once wrote to Keurig and asked them if they had any options for recycling their pods. I suggested that they allow customers to send the empties bag and they could re-use them. They did answer my email, but said they have nothing in place for reusing the pods and that they hoped to make them recyclable at some point. I let them know I wouldn\'t be purchasing their products until they were more environmentally friendly.

anna
5 Months Ago

What about the water absorbing cloth/ towels that you usually have in Japanese/ Korean restaurants like a cold/ hot towels before meals? Are they also made in plastic?


Reply
Chitra
5 Months Ago

Is this true also of adult bathroom wipes labeled "flushable?" I mean that they are made of plastic and not biodegradable? If so that is shocking.


Reply
Rob Pollock
5 Months Ago

Did you know a lot of carpet is also?


Reply
MT
07 May 2018

What carpet is flush-able?

Dee
5 Months Ago

Costco makes wipes that are plant based.


Reply
moonlit
5 Months Ago

So what are you suppose to use especially when you are out and about???


Reply
rob
07 May 2018

I keep napkins and paper towels in my car. Also, toilet paper if restrooms are out or if an emergency pit stops comes up hahaha!

MT
07 May 2018

Seriously? What do you think we used before wet wipes? A tissue and grandma spit of course!

moonlit
08 May 2018

from the article..."“eliminate” the wasteful baby wipes."
Maybe I\'m wrong but I assumed they meant all portable pre-wetted wipes including baby wipes. I am not using grandma spit to clean my grandchild\'s Ass! And tissues and paper towels will not work well either if I do not have a working sink.

Trish
10 May 2018

Way back....years ago, we managed quite nicely without wet wipes. When my kids were in little and in diapers, I carried a tupperware container that had a few wet washcloths in them. They got used while we were out and then washed with the laundry at home. Using a container with some soapy water and washcloths is not terribly inconvenient.



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