The UK government has banned plastic wet wipes in a broader strategy to improve water quality. According to Water UK, wet wipes flushed down toilets cause 93% of sewer blockages and cost around £ l 00m a year to clear up.
In the announcement under ‘stronger regulation’, the Environment Minister states that they are “banning sales of wet wipes containing plastic – subject to consultation – and writing to relevant producers and advertising authorities about ‘flushable’ labelling on wet wipe packaging.”
When you get into the nitty-gritty of this announcement, the ban only relates to England. Wales and Scotland have previously consulted on a ban. Still, neither has taken any further action, and it is unclear if the ban includes Northern Ireland.
The Environment Minister told BBC News that a short consultation must occur first as it is “a legal requirement to make sure that we can go ahead with any ban.” Prior public consultations returned 96% support for the ban.
As always, actions speak louder than words, so we will be tracking the progress of the UK Government in implementing these necessary changes. They should follow the lead of retailers such as Boots and Tesco, which have already banned the sale of plastic wet wipes.
Meanwhile, what can we do here in Australia?
- Business leaders, make the switch to plastic free, and build this into your sustainability strategies for your business.
- All of us be imperfectly plastic free. Make better choices when you can for you and your family.
- And to our esteemed politicians, use the legislative levers available to stamp out unnecessary plastics when there is a plastic free option in the market.