Why are we banning wipes?
Traditional wet wipes are made of polyester and contain millions of chemical microfibres. Once in the water, these fibres are released and cause death and destruction to a host of marine species.
While wipes may seem like a small part of our everyday routine, in the UK, 9.3 million wipes are still flushed down toilets every single day, making their way to the world’s oceans, rivers and sewage systems, damaging marine life and creating huge costs to unblock sewers.
While there are some new types of biodegradable wipes that are described as flushable and compostable, industry body Water UK and many environmental charities such as the Marine Conservation Society warn that these won’t degrade quickly enough to avoid damaging drains, rivers, and eventually marine life.
The vast majority of wet wipes are not bio-degradable, so those that do escape sewage filters have an even greater environmental impact, finishing their journey in oceans or washing up on beaches.
What are we swapping wipes for?
By the end of September 2019, customers will see our entire wet wipe range replaced with exciting environmentally friendly and sustainable alternatives, including muslin cloths, cotton pads and natural exfoliating mitts.
Not only are these kinder to the environment, but they’re favoured by celebrities and beauty experts alike, so you can be sure that they’re a great choice for healthy skin too.
These products are multi-use and can be washed at home without any extra effort or cost.
Why do we still have wipes on sale?
Like many retailers, we order products in bulk to meet the demands of our customers. Because of this, we have a small backlog of wipes which will take a while to sell through our stores.
While we’d like to eliminate these straight away, destroying a large number of wet wipes would prove more dangerous and wasteful to the environment.
Will Holland & Barrett stop selling wet wipes in other countries?
We’re taking this pledge seriously, and that means removing wipes from our international markets by the end of September 2019 and making reusable options readily available for our customers overseas.
Why have we chosen to ban wipes when we still sell many products in plastic packaging?
Like all retailers, we’re constantly looking at ways in which we can reduce our environmental footprint. We were the first retailer on the high street to ban plastic bags, as well as micro plastics in our beauty products.
We’re currently looking at ways to reduce our use of non-recyclable materials and aim to eliminate all single-use plastic by 2023.
In the meantime, we’re moving to clear PCR resin-based plastic with easy peel matt labels sourced from FSC approved paper mills. This should help make it as easy as possible for our customers and the local authority waste collections in this country to recycle our waste.
Where possible, we avoid plastic packaging by using aluminium, which is infinitely recyclable, and packing many of our beauty products in glass.
We also ensure we provide clear recycling information on all our packaging, so our customers understand clearly which parts of their products can be recycled and how best to do this.