Plastic Free Wet Wipes: An Update on the Consultation and Plastic Wet Wipe Ban

Plastic Free Wet Wipes: An Update on the Consultation and Plastic Wet Wipe Ban

Back in January, you may have seen our blog on how plastic free wet wipes were set to become a societal essential in 2024. In October 2023, a consultation on the banning of wet wipes containing plastic across the UK was launched under plans to tackle plastic pollution and clean up the UK’s waterways. We promised to keep our customers updated as and when the results were released.

On Earth Day, 22nd April 2024, it was announced that the UK Government will introduce new world-leading legislation to ban wet wipes containing plastic. It’s an essential step towards the needed conservation and sustainability of our planet and the bid to become a plastic free nation. As a leading wet wipe manufacturer, in this week’s blog, Guardpack discuss what we know so far and what follows for suppliers.

The Ban on Plastic in Wet Wipes

Since it’s official approval, the Government is now set to announce the next steps in the ban of the supply and sale of wet wipes containing plastic, following overwhelming support during the consultation process.

Responses to the public consultation showed a huge 95% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the proposals – which will be introduced via secondary legislation under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The government’s response has now been published alongside the Welsh Government, Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive.

The world-leading legislation is envisioned to be in before summer recess (July) this year, to help tackle plastic pollution and clean up waterways. It should be mentioned that the government response also sets out exemptions to ensure that wet wipes containing plastic remain available where there is no viable alternative – such as for medical disinfectant purposes.

An Environmental Necessity

The ban on plastic in wet wipes is part of a wider action by the government to improve our water environment and follows the recent announcement to remove the fine to flush certification by Water UK.

Wet wipes containing plastic break down into microplastics over time, which research shows can be harmful to human health and disrupt our ecosystems. With many plastic wipes not fully recyclable, the components are unable to break down. This leaves them clogging our sewages, rotting in nature and overflowing landfill, contributing to the overarching problem of the destruction of our natural environment.

Once in our water environment, wet wipes containing plastic can accumulate biological and chemical pollutants, increasing the risk of harm to the animals and humans who encounter them. This ban is a necessary step in the reduction of plastic and microplastic pollution and will significantly reduce the volume of microplastics entering wastewater treatment sites when wrongly flushed. It’s safe to say that our beaches, waterways and moreover, our planet, will only benefit from the ban.

Consumer-Led Demand

With plastic free wet wipes readily available and working just as effectively in most cases as the plastic duplicate, it’s clear consumers are willing and wanting to use biodegradable products. Several retailers have already stopped selling wet wipes containing plastic. The likes of Boots and Aldi (alongside many of our customers) have removed all wet wipes containing plastic from sale in stores and online over the past two years as part of their long-standing commitment to sustainability and working with suppliers and customers to reduce the use of plastic. It’s inevitable that other retailers and traders will now follow suit.

Guardpack: Helping Your Business to Adapt

This essential legislation will contribute to improving our environment as part of the 25-year environmental plan and the government will continue to encourage manufacturers and suppliers to move to a position where all their wet wipes are plastic free. As these changes begin to come into play, it will inevitably affect both the wet wipe industry and its consumers.

With an 18-month phase in timeline to allow for businesses to adapt and transition, it is important for brands to use a reputable manufacturer who is not only compliant with the legislation but also prepared for it to ensure minimal disruption to supply and commerce.

As an industry leading, UK-based wet wipe manufacturer, Guardpack are already well prepared for this change and continue to offer our customers support to ensure both compliance and continuity in their business.

We are, and always have been, fully supportive of providing greener and more sustainable alternatives to the marketplace and provide our customers with a wide range of biodegradable and recyclable options as standard. As innovative experts within our sector, we strive to stay ahead of the curve and have also taken the necessary steps to transition our mywipe range over to biodegradable fabrics too.

Transition to Plastic Free Wet Wipes

Brands must act now and transition to plastic free wet wipes as soon as possible. To ensure necessary compliance and seamless supply transition, consider us as your wet wipe and sachet manufacturer. We’re passionate about achieving an end result that not only benefits your brand, but our precious planet.

For more information on our biodegradable, plastic free wet wipes, get in touch with Guardpack today by filling out our contact form, emailing us at trade@guardpack.co.uk, or speak to one of the team today on 01245 505807. We look forward to hearing from you!

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