Wet wipes maker hits back at outdated claims that 90% of wipes contain plastic

A Wigan-based wet wipes manufacturer has hit back at claims that 90% of wipes contain plastic.

It follows moves by the Government to ban products containing plastic in a bid to tackle water pollution.

Environment Minister, Therese Coffey, said a ban could come into force as early as next year, following consultations.

It is claimed that wet wipes flushed down toilets cause 93% of sewer blockages.

However, Nice-Pak International, which produces a range of wet wipes on behalf of global brands and retailers, asserts that its UK output is already 90% free of plastic.

The company, which has factories in Wigan and Flint, has made a significant investment and determined effort to switch to plastic-free materials.

Supplying baby, household, skincare and moist toilet tissue wipes, Nice-Pak has seen its UK plastic-free production grow from nine per cent to 90% in just five years across all of these categories.

Commercial director, Ian Anderson, said: “We welcome the Government’s ban on plastic wipes. However, having heard for so long that ‘90% of wet wipes contain plastic’, I have to say this is simply not true.

“It is an outdated statistic which conveniently overlooks the huge efforts we have made in the last five years to phase out plastic fibres and replace them with fully sustainable materials from natural sources.”

Baby wipes represent the largest wipes category in the UK at 229 million packs, according to Kantar, well over half of which are manufactured by Nice-Pak.

Ian added: “Looking beyond our own production figures at the wider market, our latest analysis shows that three quarters of baby wipe products on UK shelves are now plastic-free.

“Combining this with our own numbers, it is clear that the 90% plastic figure is a fallacy.

“We are fully prepared to support a ban on plastic wipes since we have already done the hard work and expect to be completely plastic-free in the very near future.

“With a final push from a few remaining brands and certain parts of the variety discount sector, a 100% plastic-free scenario is entirely achievable in the short term.”

Ian also believes the real future challenge lies in correct disposal, rather than plastic content.

He said: “Plastic-free does not mean that products can be flushed. We have worked tirelessly with our clients to ensure that correct labelling is used.

“Regardless of whether the wipe contains plastic or not, it should be disposed of appropriately.

“Only sustainable wipes which are also approved under the water industry’s own ‘Fine to Flush’ standard should be disposed of via the toilet.

“Everything else should go into the waste bin. This distinction is clear on every pack that we sell as non-flushable wipes are routinely marked ‘Do Not Flush’.”

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