High street chemist Boots is stopping sales of all wet wipes that contain plastic fibres and replacing them with plant-based biodegradable options.
The pharmacy is the latest retail chain to commit to ending sales of plastic wipes by the end of 2022. The commitment follows Boots reformulating its own brand wipe ranges which Boots says is part of “wider efforts to reduce plastic and become a more sustainable retailer”. This latest move by Boots comes after similar bans by Tesco and Holland & Barrett.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: This is a really encouraging commitment from Boots to prevent the damaging plastics in wet wipes from entering our environment.
Wet wipes made up around 93% of the material causing sewer blockages, according to a study by Water UK.
Boots says it is one of the biggest sellers of wet wipes in the UK, with over 800 million wet wipes sold over the last year in its stores and online, and that 15% of all beauty face wipes are bought in Boots’ stores. The chemist also offers 140 different lines of wet wipes across skincare, beauty, baby, tissue, and health care categories.
Steve Ager, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, Boots UK, said: “Our customers are more aware than ever before of their impact on the environment, and they are actively looking to brands and retailers to help them lead more sustainable lives.”
As well as Boots’ commitment to ending the sale of plastic-based wet wipes, the retailer says all Boots brand wipes will be labelled as “Do Not Flush”. They also say any wipes intended for intimate use will be flushable and meet the WRC Fine to Flush standard.
Boots also says it has expanded its range of reusable and refillable alternatives over the last 2 years. This includes reusable make-up remover pads, cleansing pads, refillable cleansing products, and reusable wipes.
Sandy Luk, Chief Executive at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “It’s a fantastic step in the right direction for retailers, like Boots, to remove plastic from their own brand wet wipes and ask that all brands they stock do the same.
“Our volunteers found nearly 6,000 wet wipes during the Great British Beach Clean in September 2021, which is an average of 12 and a half wet wipes for every 100 metres of beach surveyed. The fact we’re still finding so many wet wipes on beaches shows that we need to remove plastic from wet wipes and move toward reusable options wherever possible, and it’s great that Boots are making commitments to this.”