Fine to Flush: Which Wet Wipes Contain No Microplastics?
Cleansing wipes are an extremely useful product – but if they aren’t flushable or compostable, they can cause big problems for your environment and plumbing.
For many, wet and dry wipes are absolutely essential. They’re budget-friendly, widely available to purchase and are easy to grab in a hurry. From surface cleaning to personal care, a pack of wipes will make light work of many dirty tasks. However, for many, this is more than a case of convenience.
In care environments, having a pack of wipes within arm’s reach is often imperative to maintaining good hygiene standards. When clean-ups are essential to the wellbeing and dignity of a patient, wipes allow clinicians to act quickly, efficiently and safely.
In these circumstances, few alternatives are viable.
A re-usable product is likely to have a slow turn-around between tasks, making it impractical in busy facilities – as well as a cross-infection risk. Disposable wipes are designed to solve these problems and, for the most part, they do so very well.
However, not all wipes are truly disposable. This is when we start to see dangerous, unintended consequences.
Wipes and other so-called disposable products are the main cause of sewer blockages and emergency call outs to sewage pumping stations.
A 2011 study demonstrated that wipes and other items not suitable for flushing down toilets made up a substantial proportion of sewer blockages.
The issue is far from exclusive to major sewage works. For care facilities, wipes that are mistakenly disposed of in macerators can cause serious machinery breakdowns with costly results.
Wipes that aren’t truly disposable are also a serious threat to the environment.
90% of the 11bn wet wipes used in the UK each year contain some form of plastic which, when broken down, turn into microplastics. This can then be ingested by wildlife and enter the food chain and water supply.
To this end, the World Wildlife Fund has suggested that people eat about five grams of plastic a week – the equivalent of a credit card.
Worse still, the problem is on the rise. The Great British Beach Clean has reportedly seen an increase from 1.7 wet wipes per average 100m of beach, to 18 wet wipes between 2005 and 2020.
This has led to numerous groups, from water companies to MPs, to call for non-flushable wipes to be banned.
A spokesperson from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said:
"We support the water industry's ongoing work to ensure that any wipes which are marked as being 'flushable', are plastic free and are truly flushable.
"We will continue to encourage the water and wet wipe industries to work together to develop an agreed standard for flushable wet wipes."
Although a ban on non-flushable wipes is not confirmed, a change to legislation is probable.
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Facilities that have spent years using the same non-disposable wipe may feel that they have a tricky decision on their hands.
Most people want to make eco-friendly decisions. However, there can be hesitancy to change from non-disposable wipes which contain microplastics.
A flushable, plastic-free wipe may contribute to environmental sustainability, but will it be sustainable for the facility itself? Will the new wipe be just as strong as incumbent solution? Will it be as kind to skin and easy for clinicians to use?
Changing products can feel risky. Often, it seems safer to stick to what you know.
However, environmental concerns are a worldwide priority. If non-flushable wipes are banned in the future, you could be left with boxes of wipes that you cannot use. The search for a wipe you can trust will then become urgent, while your existing stock goes to waste.
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Hygenex wipes are 100% flushable and contain no microplastics.
For facilities looking to change their existing wipe stock to a sustainable alternative, Hygenex wet and dry wipes are the ideal solution.
They are completely maceratable, flushable, dispersible, biodegradable and compostable. Better yet, they pass all EDANA flushability tests and INDA standards, so you can safely flush your wipes without fear.
Made from 100% non-woven cellulosic material, Hygenex wipes are soft and strong. They have been specially developed to deliver exceptional performance whilst offering outstanding environmentally friendly benefits. So, not only will your clinicians find them effective and reliable to use – without the risk of tearing – they’ll be kind to the skin of your patients, too.
Unlike most wipes on the market, Hygenex wipes are fully compostable. They completely break down and disperse into 100% organic matter.
That means they contain absolutely no microplastics.
The wipes will completely break down in water, causing no damage to your plumbing. Just take a look at the video below to see how they compare to a non-flushable alternative…
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Switch to Hygenex wipes and you will benefit from:
- A wipe that can be disposed of in bedpan washers, macerators, slop hoppers or toilets
- Reduced risk of macerator or plumbing blockages
- Easy and quick disposal for your care staff
- A new, larger size for easy cleansing
- A choice of wet or dry wipes, to suit your needs
- Care for all skin types and body parts, including intimate areas
- Your own Hygenex account manager, to help you manage your purchasing needs.
Hygenex wipes are designed to care for those who need them, as well the planet. We’d love for you to try them and experience the benefits for yourself.
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