Why are Aldi and Boots banning wet wipes and will they be axed in all supermarkets?

High street chemist Boots has announced plans to phase out the sale of plastic wet wipes in all UK stores.

The retailer is one of the biggest sellers of wet wipes in the UK with over 140 different lines stocked across skincare, beauty, baby, tissue and health care.

Their sales make up to 15% of all face wipes sold across the UK.

Why are wet wipes being phased out?

The move is an effort to reduce environmental waste and to give shoppers more sustainable choices.

It may come as a surprise to some, but a lot of wet wipes are made from plastic materials, making them non-biodegradable.

The aim is to replace plastic based wipes with only biodegradable options.

Steve Ager, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, Boots UK, said: “Our customers are more aware than ever before of their impact on the environment, and they are actively looking to brands and retailers to help them lead more sustainable lives.”

Also, the improper disposal of wipes is causing them to contribute to environmental pollution.

According to the Marine Conservation Society, as many as 6,000 wet wipes end up on beaches a year as people choose to flush them rather then throwing away into bins.

Unable to break down, even some flushable wet wipes contribute to blockages, as many do not meet met the water industry’s ‘Fine to Flush’ standard.

Will other supermarkets follow?

As of now, there is no law requiring the ban of plastic wipes in supermarkets or pharmacies.

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But other retailers may choose to do the same.

Earlier this month, Aldi stopped the sale of plastic wipes, replacing them with smaller packs of bio-degradable water wipes.

However, this was met with criticism from shoppers, who noticed the change in the chain’s popular brand of baby wipes.

Even still, Boots are asking other retailers to make the move.

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Ager said: “We removed plastics from our own brand and No7 wet wipe ranges in 2021, and now we are calling on other brands and retailers across the UK to follow suit in eliminating all plastic-based wet wipes.

“We all have a responsibility to protect our planet.

“By joining forces to inspire more positive action, we can collectively make a big difference.”

What are the alternatives?

While plastic wipes are the main seller, there are still plenty of biodegradable options for shoppers to choose from.

Sainsburys sell packs of 60 disposable all-purpose wet wipes at £2.20 each.

Organic bio-degradable make up wipes are available from Holland and Barrett for £3.99 for 20.

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You can buy earth friendly cleansing wipes from Superdrug for the cheap price of £1.00 for a pack of 25.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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