UK to Ban Plastic Wet Wipes Due to Adverse Health & Environmental Impact

With their impending prohibition, plastic-containing wet wipes will soon have no place in the UK.

The goal of the ban is to lessen their contribution to marine trash. The public survey yielded a resounding victory for prohibiting these plastic-containing cleaning cloths, with 95% of respondents either supporting or highly endorsing the ideas.

Approximately 11 billion are used annually in the UK, with recent research revealing an average of 20 per 100 meters of beachfront in the country.

Ministers will expedite the legislation for England prior to the summer break, and in the fall, they will do the same for Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

All four of the UK’s countries released responses today (April 22), including measures to help firms prepare for the change. Each country contacted the other last fall to discuss the ban proposal.

On 22 April 2024, the Environment Secretary revealed that the UK government would implement new, world-leading legislation to outlaw wet wipes containing plastic.

Microplastics released by wet wipes can potentially collect chemical and biological contaminants. When they make their way into the food webs of fish and people, this becomes a problem.

Nearly all respondents (95 percent) favored the ban proposal in a public consultation.

Meanwhile, several companies have begun producing alternatives to plastic-based wipes, proving these harmful products are unnecessary.

Environment organizations have long called for a ban, so this news is a relief to them.

In a coordinated effort to implement the prohibition, Defra plans to move the English legislation forward before the summer break, with the Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish versions following in the fall.

A recent investigation showed an average of 20 wet wipes per 100 meters of beach studied throughout the UK*. Research reveals that microplastics, which are formed when wet wipes break down, may harm human health and ecosystems.

The plastic in wet wipes can potentially absorb chemical and biological contaminants once they enter our water supply, posing a threat to both people and animals.