Selfridges has removed all single-use beauty wipes from its Beauty Halls and online, replacing them with reusable and recyclable alternatives from brands like Clinique and indie brands such as Face Halo. The initiative is an effort to reduce the plastic footprint of its customers’ beauty routines.
According to research conducted by the BBC for War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita, 11 billion wet wipes are sold in the UK each year across the health, beauty, and cleaning sectors, generating £0.5bn for the economy. But 90% of these products contain some plastic content.
Selfridges recently surveyed 2,000 UK-based adult shoppers, finding that one in five use beauty wipes at least once a day. While 84% of respondents said that plastics were their top concern around the sustainability of the physical products they buy, less than one-fifth were aware that most single-use wipes contain plastics and can take 100 years or more to degrade in nature.
With this in mind—and given the retailer’s ongoing work on ocean conservation—Selfridges’ Director of Sustainability Daniella Vega maintains that removing plastic-based wet wipes altogether was the right thing to do, while big brands begin the multiyear process of developing alternatives.
“Single-use beauty wipes have been a staple of many beauty drawers, but they are incredibly harmful to the environment,” Vega said to Edie. “During a recent Selfridges team beach clean, we saw first-hand the impact they have on our waterways and beaches and we were even more motivated to remove them from our stores.”
In summer 2021, the EU’s new requirement for wet wipe makers to disclose their composition and to provide on-pack information regarding their environmental impact will come into effect. This legislation will be applied to the UK regardless of what happens with Brexit. Currently, wet wipe companies are not required by either EU or UK law to disclose the ingredients of the wipes themselves, only of the liquid used to coat them.
Photo: via Face Halo