The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has confirmed plans for a UK-wide ban on wet wipes containing plastic. So, what does this mean for food production sites?

On Monday 22nd April 2024, in celebration of Earth Day, the Government shared its updated plans for the UK-wide ban of wet wipes containing plastic. Supported by 95% of the surveyed public, this ban aims to crack down on plastic pollution, moving the UK towards a circular economy for plastic products.

In its official Summary of Response, the Government emphasised the purpose of the ban is to “reduce the volume of plastic litter as well as the microplastics entering our waterways”*.

As wet wipes contain plastics that eventually break down into microplastics, the ban will safeguard against this, bolstered by research that suggests microplastics could be having an adverse effect on both our aquatic eco-systems and human health.

With calls for this legislation to come into force as soon as possible, it’s important to ask: how will the UK-wide ban on wet wipes containing plastic impact food production sites?

Exemptions for industrial (food production) and medical purposes

In the case of food production sites, it is essential that wet wipes possess properties such as “tensile strength [and] the ability to hold and apply certain disinfectants”.

Early research into the ban raised concerns that some plastic-free wet wipes would be less likely to offer these properties than the plastic alternatives.

In recognition of the fact that in some instances plastic-free wet wipes are unsuitable or unavailable, the ban is set to include one major point of exemption. This will allow “the supply and sale of wet wipes containing plastic for industrial and medical purposes”.

As a result, food production sites will still be permitted to buy wet wipes containing plastic either from verified suppliers or directly from manufacturers. Although it may not be relevant to your site, an additional guideline states that: once purchased, the wipes cannot be sold onto consumers. Here, pharmacies are the only exemption.

As a specialist supplier to the food industry, Klipspringer is in a position to ensure you have the most appropriate wipes for your application as a food manufacturer. You can view our full range of wet wipes below.

You can also reach out to our team today to discuss the best wipes for your application. Contact us on 01473 461800 or sales@klipspringer.com. Alternatively, use the form below to arrange a free consultation.  

* Excerpts taken from the Government’s official Summary of Response, last updated 22nd April 2024

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