Wet wipes are possibly going to be banned in the UK, as part of Michael Gove’s crackdown on plastic being thrown away and damaging ecosystems.
Soon, shoppers and wet wipes users will no longer be able to find the product on the market. The reason; wet wipes are made by polyester, containing millions of microfibers infused with chemicals.
This in turn creates serious harm for the environment.
Despite the many public awareness campaigns and eco-system campaigns, many wipes are daily being flushed into lavatories, where they end up clogging sewers and, or going into the ocean, killing fish and marine life due to the chemicals, due to the microfibers that the polyester is made of.
According to a spokesman from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) the ban of the wet wipes is part of their 25-year environmental plan, that aims to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. For now, DEFRA is working with wet wipes factories, insuring that the packages are properly made with clear instructions on how to dispose the product right.
The department is still considering a raise in the taxes, to reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste.
Thames21 reported finding more than 5000 wet wipes alongside the Thames, covering an area as big as a tennis court.
Water UK, a company representing the water and the sewerage, announced that after a huge investigation, it was found that wipes flushed in the toilets were the greatest culprit. It showed, also, that £100m were added to water bills, because of sewer blockages.
To reduce the damage of plastic waste the UK government has already banned the microbeads, introduced 5p plastic bag charge, signed a ban over plastic straws and announced a new deposit-return scheme for plastic bottles.
Whether reducing the amount of wipes used will help better the environment is debatable – much more needs to be done in addition to insure cleanliness.