Holland & Barrett has become the first UK high street retailer to impose a complete ban on selling all wet wipes. The health chain will remove 34 branded and own-label wet wipe products – which includes make-up removers, hand sanitisers and surface cleaners – from its 800 UK and Ireland stores.
Instead, it will fill its shelves with environmentally-friendly and sustainable alternatives. This includes cotton pads, unbleached cotton muslin clothes and exfoliating mitts.
The move comes as part of Holland & Barrett’s efforts to limit the damage wet wipes cause to water systems. Around 9.3million wipes are flushed down toilets in the UK every day, according to the EarthWatch Institute and Plastic Oceans UK, and end up in rivers.
They also enter sewage systems, where they account for 80% of UK sewer blockages, and pollute the oceans. Just last year, the Marine Conversation Society found an average of 12 wet wipes per 100m on UK beaches.