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Boots to stop selling plastic-based wet wipes by 2023

Boots UK has committed to replacing all wet wipes containing plastic fibres with biodegradable alternatives by the end of this year, it has announced.

In doing so, the multiple aims to “to eliminate unnecessary plastic” and become “a more sustainable retailer”, it wrote in an announcement today (April 19).

Boots UK wrote to its suppliers in UK and the Republic of Ireland asking that they “remove all wet wipes that contain plastic fibres from its shelves and by the end of 2022”.

Instead, the multiple will move towards selling plant-based biodegradable wet wipes.


Read more: Meet the pharmacies striving for a more environmentally friendly, greener sector


The multiple's chief customer and commercial officer Steve Ager said: “We all have a responsibility to protect our planet”.

Boots UK eliminated plastics from its own brand wet wipe ranges in 2021, and it is now “calling on other brands and retailers across the UK to follow suit”, he added.

“By joining forces to inspire more positive action, we can collectively make a big difference,” he said.


“A step in the right direction for retailers”


Boots is “one of the biggest sellers of wet wipes in the UK”, it wrote in its announcement, “representing up to 15% of all face wipes sold across the UK”.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow called the decision to no longer stock plastic-based wipes a “really encouraging commitment from Boots to prevent the damaging plastics in wet wipes from entering our environment”.


Read more: Podcast – How I’m helping pharmacy become greener


Meanwhile Sandy Luk, chief executive at the Marine Conservation Society, said the multiple’s commitment is “a fantastic step in the right direction”.

Volunteers for the group had found “an average of 12 and a half wet wipes for every 100 metres of beach surveyed” while cleaning British beaches in September 2021, she added.

“The fact we’re still finding so many wet wipes on beaches shows that we need to remove plastic from wet wipes and move toward reusable options wherever possible,” she said.


Expansion of sustainable alternatives


Boots has also “expanded its ranges of reusable and refillable alternatives in the last two years”, it noted.

It has stocked “reusable make-up remover pads, cleansing pads, baby reusable wipes and refillable cleansing products”, while also removing all plastic packaging from its online deliveries in 2021.


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