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Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Plastic pollution > March of the Wet Wipes @ Radio 4's Costing the Earth

Not many of us know that wet wipes are made with plastic:
Did You Know Wet Wipes Are Made With Plastic? This Is Why the UK Wants Them Banned - One Green PlanetOne Green Planet

It's all a bit of a mess, as pointed out by Friends of the Earth recently:

Plastic-free wet wipes: clean as a baby’s bottom? 

Government hints at wet wipes ban. In 25 years. Then says no – no ban, just better labeling. And with less plastic? We reveal the messy truth about wet wipes.

By Paul Quinn | Published: 14 May 2018

Millions of us will grab a wet wipe to clean our hands, faces, worktops, children, and almost everything else nowadays. What harm can it do, we might think – they’re only little squares of wet tissue. Aren’t they? But now people are realising that wet wipes, like so many other everyday throwaway items, contain plastic, and aren’t so harmless after all.

Three recent news stories in the media highlighted the growing concerns over wet wipes.


Wet wipe worry 1: the fatberg:

'Fatberg' Clogs London Sewer - YouTube 

Wet wipe worry 2: the plastic riverbed:
#plasticpollution hashtag on Twitter 
Wet wipes could face wipe-out in plastic clean-up - BBC News 

Wet wipe worry 3: the ban that isn’t a ban:

“We have not announced plans to ban wet wipes." 
“Our focus for wet wipes is to work with manufacturers and water companies to develop a product that does not contain plastic and can be safely flushed. We are also continuing to work with industry to make sure labelling on the packaging of these products is clear and people know how to dispose of them properly.”

Plastic-free wet wipes: clean as a baby’s bottom?  | Friends of the Earth
Why wet wipes are yet another form of single use plastic causing problems for the environment

As reported widely yesterday in the press:
"Flushable" wet wipes caused major sewage blockages in Britain - CNN
'Flushable' wipes sold in the UK fail to disintegrate - ITV News
No 'flushable' wet wipes tested so far pass water industry tests - BBC News
Nine out of ten 'flushable wipes' do not break down in the sewer | Daily Mail Online
Yorkshire Water targets Leeds residents over flushing wet wipes down the toilet - Yorkshire Evening Post

Tonight's Costing the Earth on BBC Radio 4 looks at the issues:

March of the Wet Wipes


Wednesday 14th November 2018

Over the last decade, wet wipes have become ubiquitous. There's a wipe for almost everything, from faces to furniture, and it's a multi-million pound industry. 

But our sewerage systems are paying the price. Tom Heap goes on a call-out with the teams whose job is unblocking the drains - and finds that the culprits are usually wet wipes. It doesn't stop with the sewers: wipes can now be found in their millions on our beaches and in our rivers - where they are affecting wildlife, and in some cases even changing the shape of the riverbed itself. Water companies say that nothing but pee, poo and paper should be flushed down the toilet. Many wipes are labelled "do not flush" - but Tom talks to experts who cast doubt over whether even the ones marked "flushable" really are.

Costing the Earth - March of the Wet Wipes - BBC Sounds

To finish:
How to make baby wipes! | DIY BABY WIPES - YouTube
Plastic-free wet wipes: clean as a baby’s bottom?  | Friends of the Earth
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Hosiped company said...

Not wipes are plastic. For example cottonelle has been shown to be flushable