Are Baby Wipes Biodegradable?

reusable baby wipes

Let's find out if your baby wipes are biodegradable.

If you are hoping to go plastic free and reduce your plastic waste, you might be very surprised to find that most baby wipes (except washable baby wipes) are actually made of plastic. What, you didnít realise? No, it's not something that baby wipe manufacturers sing from the rooftops.

Which Baby Wipes Do Not Contain Plastic

We have been on a quest here at Baba Me HQ to discover the best disposable baby wipes which do not contain plastic. Sadly, it's a very short list. Jackson Reece doesn't. Aqua wipes and water wipes are also made plastic free baby wipes.

Most baby wipes are made from regenerated cellulose and polypropylene. Polypropylene is plastic. Some other wipes contain polyester (plastic) and polyethylene (plastic). Some contain all three types of plastic.

Every disposable wet wipe, even the nice biodegradable ones, all come in single use plastic packaging. It seems a bit of a misnomer to describe baby wipes as biodegradable then sell them in non degradable plastic, topped off, of course with plastic lids. Oh, what a joyous plastic fest.

Can you Flush Wet Wipes

NO! A very assertive no. NO baby wipes can be flushed, repeat no baby wipes can be flushed, no matter what the packaging says. Many claim they can be flushed but speak to any plumber about blocked pipes and they will soon put you straight on that matter. And if you happen to have a septic tank and flush wet wipes, well good luck.

At this stage, let's talk about fatbergs. A fatberg is basically a congealed mass of wet wipes and fat and they are a huge problem in our underground sewer systems. They are caused by poor unsuspecting parents flushing down wipes they have been told are flushable. If in doubt, do not flush. Fatbergs can set as hard as concrete, grow to huge sizes and cause huge trouble for water companies.

Thames Water have had to deal with hundreds of London fatbergs, some the size of double decker buses. The biggest fatberg to date was 84 metres long and weighed 90 tonnes. If you want to feel quite sick now, go google fatberg images. Fatbergs cause havoc as the sewer system cannot cope with unflushables such as wipes, being flushed. Thames water reminds us that only 3 Pís should be flushed down toilets (Pee, poop and paper).

Wet Wipes Now Most Common Beach Litter

On top of causing huge fatbergs, wet wipes now have the inglorious title of the most common litter on beaches in the EU. The European Commission has identified wet wipes as the top single-use plastic item found on beaches. Most of the problem was actually wipes which are sold as flushable, they either end up in fatbergs or on beaches. They are NOT flushable, remember the 3ps rule.

The Marine Conservation Society has said we have had a 400% rise in wet wipes found on beaches in a decade. On a recent beach clean they found an average of 80 wipes per mile of beach. They are a serious ecological problem and becoming much worse each year.

The solution? If you use disposable wipes put them in the bin. Better still, use reusable cloth wipes, save money and save the environment!


Next Up: How Do You Use Reusable Wipes