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Switch to reusable wipes

Reusable cloth wipes with cotton on one side and light blue on the other, with a pale blue background

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Did you know that makeup wipes, baby wipes and cleaning wipes all count as single-use plastic? Single-use wipes can’t be recycled or flushed down the loo, which leads to 11 billion wipes being thrown away every year in the UK. Worse still, a large proportion of these are still being flushed down the toilet, making them responsible for over 90% of sewer blockages. However, they can easily be replaced by reusable wipes, cloths or flannels.

Swap to reusable wipes

There are many reusable wipes and cloths to choose from. Made using a number of materials from micro-fibre to cotton or bamboo, they can often make a messy job easier to clean and can simply be thrown in the washing machine after you've used them.

Reusable baby wipes

Cloth wipes for children are a great alternative to single-use wet wipes – the natural materials are more absorbent and super soft on your baby's skin or for wiping sticky fingers.

If you usually take a pack of wet wipes with you when you’re out and about, particularly if you’ve got young children, you can still make the switch to reusable! Simply dampen the cloth wipes and pop them in a small bag or container to keep them moist. They’ll then be ready to use whenever you need them.

Reusable makeup wipes

If you’re looking to ditch the makeup remover wipes, why not opt for bamboo or micro-fibre pads? These are great for removing makeup when used alongside a cleanser, and they’re kinder to your skin than single-use wipes.

Jenny from Braintree wanted to reduce the amount of wipes she was throwing away after just one use. “I was paying £1.85 for 50 single-use cotton make-up wipes. I was using two a day, so they would last me less than a month. So I bought a pack of 12 washable bamboo cloths for £9, which could be popped in the wash after each use. That way I would never run out and by using my favourite detergent, they smell great every time I use them. I have even persuaded a few of my friends to do the same.”

Reusable cleaning wipes

Finally, if you want to make the switch from single-use cleaning wipes around the house, why not try a cleaning cloth? They perform better than a standard wet wipe as they are usually much more absorbent. Alternatively, an old t-shirt or other item of unwanted clothing can also make a great replacement for single-use wipes.

Reduce your plastic, take the Essex Plastic Pledge

Join us either as an individual or household and sign the Essex Plastic Pledge. You will receive a monthly e-newsletter packed full of hints and tips and be entered into prize draws to win items that will help you reduce your plastics.

Sign the Essex Plastic Pledge for residents here.

If you're a school in Essex, you can sign the the Essex Plastic Pledge for your school. You will then receive a bi-monthly newsletter full of inspiration from other local schools on how to reduce plastic waste as well as access to an online resource pack full of activities and tools to help your school succeed in reducing plastic waste.  

Sign the Essex Plastic Pledge for schools here.

If you're an organisation in Essex, such as a business, college, university or community group you can sign the Essex Plastic Pledge as an organisation. You will receive a bi-monthly newsletter full of inspiration from other local organisation sharing their experiences and success stories on reducing plastic waste, as well as access to an online resource pack to help you on the journey to reduce plastic waste.

Sign the Essex Plastic Pledge for organisations here.

Find out more about plastic

Ideas to help reduce your plastic

Plastic recycling in Essex

Tips to improve your recycling

What's the difference between biodegradable, compostable and eco?