We Flush Away (Or Bin) 11 BILLION Wet-Wipes Each Year. That’s As High As The Eiffel Tower, DAILY.
We’re flushing away (or binning) an astonishing 11 BILLION wet wipes each year. Wet wipes can take up to 100 years to biodegrade, and those millions of makeup wipes pile(s) as high as the Eiffel Tower, daily.
Waste management specialists, BusinessWaste.co.uk, – are concerned about the sheer volume of waste created by the high volume of makeup wipes being thrown away daily, and they’re asking us to change our ways.
“Makeup wipes are the quickest and cheapest way to remove makeup on the market, but this doesn’t mean that they’re the best option for the environment,” said Mark Hall, a company spokesman for BusinessWaste.co.uk: ‘Yet global sales of wet wipes are set to reach £16 billion by 2021. It’s time to scrub away our nation’s unhealthy habits of using makeup wipes,’ he added.
Using makeup wipes is BAD for the environment. But because they’re an incredibly convenient way to remove makeup, it’s easy to convince yourself that one wipe a day won’t cause too much damage. Millions of people rely on makeup wipes, – as they promise to wash away the day in seconds using just one product, – making them cost effective, and a low maintenance part of our daily routines.
But despite the plush cotton feel makeup wipes has on our face(s), they contain a mix of plastic fibres such as polyester and polypropylene, – which prevents them from biodegrading. BusinessWaste.co.uk warns that they break down into micro-plastics and smaller fibres, which ends up polluting the oceans, and entering the food chain.
“With such a high number of wipes being used, there’s a lot of single-use plastic coming into the world,” said Mark: “the only way to prevent this from happening, is to STOP using them.” And, to add to the damage, – makeup wipes and other wet wipes are NOT recyclable, – meaning that the only way they can be properly be disposed of, is to throw them in the bin.
“For heavens sake, DO NOT flush makeup wipes down the toilet,” warns Mark Hall: “you’ll only break your toilet and block up the sewers.” With 9.3 million wet wipes being flushed down the loo each day, they account for a staggering 93% of all sewer blockages, and makeup wipes are a big contributor to this problem.
BusinessWaste.co.uk explains that flushing anything other than toilet paper down the loo – could add to ‘fatbergs’ in the sewers, which are caused by a build-up of fat, and non-biodegradable materials such as wet wipes, – which can lead to sewers blocking or overflowing.
Fortunately, several brands are leading the way, such as high street chain, Holland + Barrett, – who are pledging to remove ALL wet wipes from their stores, and Huggies the brand, – are aiming to remove all plastics from their wet wipes in the next five years.
But what other alternatives are there?
With many people now knowing that makeup wipes are bad news for the environment, alternative ways to remove makeup are becoming increasingly popular, so why isn’t everyone making the change? “I’ll admit, I buy the cheap makeup wipes from the supermarket, but then I end up using 4 instead of 1,” said shopper, Heidi in Lancaster: “but I still think it’s cheaper than whatever else is out there.“
Makeup wipes can cost as little as a pound for a pack, whereas plastic-free alternatives can cost ten times that, so it’s easy to see why people are finding it hard to make the switch. Here is a list of inexpensive alternatives, to help people cut down on their makeup-wipe usage:
- Try one of the many cleansers, such as micellar water with a flannel. A bottle can last for ages, and the flannel is washable.
- Invest in a washable makeup remover cloth, – which only needs to be run under a tap before use. It can be chucked in your washing machine when you’ve used it, which over time, – will be much cheaper than restocking on makeup wipes.
- Use a gentle soap, some water, and little bit of elbow grease.
‘Ultimately, we need to get people to realise that makeup wipes are a single-use plastic, like carrier bags and straws,’ said Mark Hall.