Holland & Barrett has announced it will no longer buy, sell or produce wet wipes.
The move, as part of its Clean and Conscious pledge, will see the complete ban in its 800 UK and Ireland stores and participating international stores, and has also seen the retailer call on other major retailers to do the same. It says wet wipe products and variants will be replaced by environmentally friendly and sustainable alternatives by the end of September, such as double-sided cotton cloths, unbleached cotton muslin cloths, cotton pads and an exfoliating mitt.
The ban will involve all 34 products in its wet wipe range, which are now being delisted. H&B says it is the first high street retailer to implement such a ban and it is calling on other retailers to follow suit.
Joanne Cooke, Head of Beauty at Holland & Barrett, explained: “‘There is a growing awareness of how much our current throwaway culture is damaging our oceans, beaches and rivers. We want to encourage our customers to think about what they currently throw away and encourage them to swap to more sustainable alternatives. The quickest way for us all to make a positive impact on the world we live in is to choose to spend our money on more sustainable products.
“There are a variety of eco-friendly alternatives to wet wipes that are just as easy, efficient, and safe to-skin and we’re excited to be leading the way on these, alongside our exciting suppliers, who are already making huge strides in moving towards a more sustainable future. We hope other large retailers will join us on our mission to make the high street a more environmentally conscious place.”
Jo Ruxton, founder of Plastic Oceans Foundation, the first plastic pollution NGO in the UK that addresses the impact plastic pollution has on our oceans, strongly supports Holland & Barrett’s decision and added: “From our campaigning work since 2009 and film, A Plastic Ocean, we have shown the damage that plastic pollution is doing to our oceans. Single use plastic items represent a major part of this problem and this destruction will soon be irreversible if the world doesn’t make a change.
“We are delighted that Holland & Barrett are taking a clear lead on sustainability by banning one of the problem products we see in our rivers and oceans – single use, disposable wet wipes – which use the world’s precious resources to manufacture, still come in plastic packaging, and still get flushed down the loo or thrown in the bin.”
Cooke added that there will be further focus on its skincare, which is in the process of developing its beauty range to focus on recyclable, refillable and waterless products.