Wet wipes pollute oceans and rivers and block sewage systems, so Holland & Barrett has stopped selling them.
Holland & Barrett will remove 34 branded and own-label wet wipe products - which includes make-up removers, hand sanitisers and surface cleaners - from its 800 UK and Ireland stores.
Instead, it will fill its shelves with environmentally-friendly and sustainable alternatives. This includes cotton pads, unbleached cotton muslin clothes and exfoliating mitts.
The move comes as part of Holland & Barrett’s efforts to limit the damage wet wipes cause to water systems. Around 9.3million wipes are flushed down toilets in the UK every day, according to the EarthWatch Institute and Plastic Oceans UK, and end up in rivers. They also enter sewage systems, where they account for 80% of UK sewer blockages, and pollute the oceans. Just last year, the Marine Conversation Society found an average of 12 wet wipes per 100m on UK beaches.
In a bid to tackle the damaging effects, the water industry created a “fine to flush” symbol that manufacturers can use on packaging for wet wipes. However, Holland & Barrett feels the label isn’t effective as it is not mandatory.
“‘There is a growing awareness of how much our current throwaway culture is damaging our oceans, beaches and rivers,” explains Joanne Cooke, Head of Beauty at Holland & Barrett, “The quickest way for us all to make a positive impact on the world we live in is to choose to spend our money on more sustainable products.”
While the wipe market shows no signs of slowing down (demand for wet wipes drew in around £11 billion globally last year), making the easy switch to biodegradable wipes makes a big difference. If you’re looking to cut single-use plastic from your routine, you can discover the best eco-friendly wipes for removing make-up here.
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