Boots pledges to phase out wet wipes containing plastics this year

Boots pledges to phase out wet wipes containing plastics this year

Boots has become the latest retailer in Ireland to stop selling wet wipes containing plastic to reduce non-biodegradable waste.

The pharmacy chain, which has almost 90 locations across Ireland, announced that it had written to its suppliers pledging to remove all wet wipes that contain plastic from its shelves, as well as its website, by the end of this year.

Wet wipes are often flushed down the toilet by consumers, causing blockages and damaging the ocean and its wildlife.

Boots, which sells about 48 million wet wipes in its stores and online every year, will replace them with plant-based biodegradable alternatives. The retailer stopped using plastic in its own-label baby wipes last year.

Holland & Barrett, the healthcare chain, announced a ban on the sale of all wet wipe products in 2019, while Tesco stopped selling them in its UK and Ireland stores last month.

Andy McQuade, head of trading at Boots Ireland, said customers were more aware than ever before of the impact of plastic on the environment. “We are calling on other brands and retailers across Ireland to follow suit in eliminating all plastic-based wet wipes,” he said.

“We all have a responsibility to protect our planet. By joining forces to inspire more positive action, we can collectively make a big difference.”

Tom Cuddy, head of asset operations at Irish Water, said an average of 65 tonnes of wipes and other items were removed every month at the Ringsend wastewater treatment plant in Dublin.

“That is the equivalent of five double-decker buses of foul material that needs to be disposed of,” he said. “The issue is evident right across the country; our largest wastewater treatment plant in the west is Mutton Island in Galway city where approximately 100 tonnes of wipes and other items are removed from the wastewater treatment plant annually.”