UK Government moving towards ban on make-up wipes that contain plastics

Make-up wipes could soon be banned in the UK as part of the Government’s continuous effort to crackdown on plastic waste.

Despite being described as “flushable”, the popular beauty product is affecting marine life because wipes do not able to break down naturally (they are non-biodegradable).

“As part of our 25-year environment plan, we have pledged to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, and that includes single-use products like wet wipes,” said a spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

“We are continuing to work with manufacturers and retailers of wet wipes to make sure labelling on packaging is clear and people know how to dispose of them properly.” 

Although Defra declined to say when the measure to cut down on wet wipes would begin, it did say it would support manufacturers to develop plastic-free versions.

"[We are] encouraging innovation so that more of these products can be recycled and are working with industry to support the development of alternatives, such as a wet wipe product that does not contain plastic and can therefore be flushed,” added Defra’s spokeswoman. 

Wipes are also contributing towards other environmental issues – 93% of blockages, known as fatbergs, within UK sewers and pipes are caused by them, according to a report by water and sewage trade body Water UK.

The Government has said it will also consult over whether to ban plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers.