With labels like ‘biodegradable wipes’ and ‘eco-friendly wipes’ used quite liberally these days, it is not always so easy to navigate the sea of antibacterial wipe brands and products stacked on the shelves.
In fact, for a conscious consumer who wants to do his or her bit for the environment and start looking for greener solutions, it can almost seem a little overwhelming. Do they all actually biodegrade? And how bad are conventional wet wipes in comparison?
That’s why we decided to put together these 5 Facts About Wet Wipes & Why You Should Switch to Bamboo Today, if you haven’t yet.
1) It is a common misconception that all wipes labelled ‘biodegradable’ are automatically ‘eco-friendly’ by default.
If getting technical, the ‘biodegradable’ labelling only signifies that a product will decompose eventually. How long it takes depends on the properties of the material they are made from.
For instance, a staggering 90% of wet wipes are made from plastic materials and could take 100 years to decompose from a landfill. Obtaining the ‘middle-ground’, then, we find certain wet wipes labelled as ‘biodegradable’, which promise to decompose within 10 years.
And then you have what we like to think of as the ‘golden standard’, and an environmentally preferred solution: Antibacterial wet wipes made from 100% bamboo.
They are not only biodegradable but compostable, meaning they decompose back into organic matter within 2 to 6 months.
2) Conventional wet wipes not only threaten wildlife and waterways but are hazardous to humans, too.
Considering that we know it can take up to 100 years for a conventional wet wipe to break down, it means it has a long time to cause a lot of damage before decomposing. Aside from polluting our oceans and beaches—and accumulating into revolting fatbergs—when conventional wet wipes break down they are reduced to smaller microplastics.
These not only pose a threat to our wildlife, but enter the human body through our food, water, and even the air we breathe. (According to National Geographic, the average person eats and breathes an approximate 74,000 microplastic particles a year.)
Moreover, as many of the aforementioned wet wipes contain alcohol as the number one antibacterial ingredient, when they start to decompose they release toxic chemicals and harmful microbes into the environment. By-products that end up in our water system and subsequently our food chain.
We have yet to see the long-term health effects of this. But in the meantime, why choose to rub conventional wipes on your skin when there are far better, plastic-free options available?
3) Even when something is labelled ‘flushable’ it usually isn’t.
According to Sydney Water, 75 per cent of sewer blockages involve wet wipes, part of the problem being certain wipes labelled as ‘flushable’. The truth is, even when something is labelled ‘flushable’ it usually isn’t. It only denotes that the product contains compounds that will result in breaking down into smaller pieces when flushed. Again, this brings us back to the problem with microplastics, as outlined above.
The takeaway from this is to never flush wipes of any kind, biodegradable or not, to be on the safe side.
4) Most people don’t know whether their gym wipes contain plastic or not.
A recent survey was conducted over 6 fitness facilities in Sydney, and the results indicate that most members would prefer to use biodegradable wipes. However, no less than 72.9% did not know if their club was using plastic blended wipes, or more environmentally preferred, biodegradable wipes.
5) Bamboo wet wipes are naturally antibacterial, and the preferred choice for the planet.
Bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials on the planet, plus it has antibacterial properties in itself. Our Need Wipes 100% Natural Bamboo Antibacterial Wipes are not just plant-based, but they are free from alcohol, bleach, phenol and fragrance making them a gentle, efficient antibacterial solution for big—as well as small hands.
Our clients value that our wipes have been ethically produced with low-environmental impact, and that we are working to offset our carbon footprint in every step of our supply chain. We accomplish this by working with global reforestation efforts such as Ecologi, who will plant one tree for every product purchased online.
Unfortunately, the conventional wet wipe is still the one that is most widely used, which is why we are working to buck this trend.
Your business can do your bit for the environment, too. Join us in our effort to free the world from plastic wet wipes by choosing Need Wipes 100% Natural Bamboo Antibacterial Wipes. There is no planet B after all.