Millions of people use disinfectant wipes daily to clean, sanitize and disinfect surfaces. They are also commonly found in hospitals, hotels, schools, and public places to help prevent the spread of germs.
Unfortunately, the use of disposable wipes could be more eco-friendly. They often contain chemicals and plastics that are not biodegradable, which means they can remain in the environment for years and cause various environmental problems.
Disposable Wipes Are Not Biodegradable
Disinfectant wipes like Wipes.com are a convenient way to keep your hands, surfaces, and other areas clean and germ-free. However, they also pose several environmental challenges.
For starters, most disposable wipes are not biodegradable or compostable. They typically contain plastic (polypropylene) and chemicals.
Moreover, many of these wipes are not explicitly designed to be flushed down the toilet. As a result, they can clog sewer pumps and cause pipe blockages. This can lead to costly repairs and replacements.
Even worse, synthetic materials can take years to break down in the water. This makes flushable wipes a significant issue in our sewers and waterways.
Water UK recently reported that 93% of waste material blocking sewers came from non-flushable wipes.
The problem with these wipes is that they are made of microplastic fibers, which do not naturally degrade in the environment. They also get covered in grease, oil, hair, and waste.
This makes them difficult for sewer pumps to handle and may lead to clogs, costing thousands of pounds to fix.
This is why it is essential to use biodegradable or compostable wipes. These are specifically designed to biodegrade in certain conditions, such as when placed in a compost bin.
They Contain Plastic
Most disposable wipes are non-biodegradable plastic and may contain a mix of natural and synthetic fibers. This makes them very strong and durable, but it also means they are not likely to break down in landfills or waterways like regular toilet paper.
Many people flush disposable wipes down their toilets, causing significant blockages in sewer systems and wastewater treatment centers worldwide. These clogs can lead to expensive repairs and downtime in water management facilities.
Fortunately, some companies are making more eco-friendly alternatives to traditional single-use wipes. They are using biodegradable materials and innovative disposal methods to lessen the impact of disposable wipes on the environment.
These alternatives can include regenerated cellulose, which has better environmental outcomes than plastic, or alternative non-woven materials made of recycled cotton. These materials can be woven into sheets or webs and then impregnated with cleaning solutions and preservatives.
While these wipes have an advantage over plastic ones regarding biodegradability, they still need to be more effective. They take much longer to decompose, and even when they break down, they are not fully decomposed because they still contain chemicals and other substances that can cause severe harm when they end up in nature or landfills.
In addition to causing problems in sewers, these non-biodegradable wipes contribute to the increasing amount of plastic found on beaches and in the oceans. As a result, some governments are now considering banning them altogether.
They Contain Chemicals
Disinfectant wipes contain chemicals like fragrances, triclosan, and parabens, which can cause health problems for people who use them. These chemicals are also found in water systems and landfills and can build up and cause environmental damage.
Wipes can also cause sewage blockages because they act as a “net,” catching hair, fats, and food particles. This can cause clogs in the pipes and pumps and is expensive to repair.
According to a study from Ryerson University, most wipes flushed in North America do not break down properly. They are not designed to degrade and can harm the environment when they end up in the sewer system or landfills.
These wipes can also contribute to the problem of plastic litter on beaches. There has been an increasing number of wipes washing up on beaches worldwide.
A UK Marine Conservation Society report found that wet wipes accounted for almost 50% of beach plastic debris between 2013 and 2014. The same report said wet wipes increased by 400 percent over ten years.
Some companies are trying to develop biodegradable wipes, but they still fail. While they can be biodegradable, they are not as strong and durable as regular wipes, and their plastic fibers don’t break down quickly. In addition, they can leave behind a toxic residue that could be dangerous for marine life.
They Are Not Environmentally Friendly
Disinfectant wipes, also known as baby wipes or toilet paper replacements, are environmentally unfriendly products. They are made with non-woven fabrics and can get stuck in sewer machinery and clog pipes, causing enormous problems worldwide for residential and municipal sewer systems.
The biggest problem with disposable wipes is that they are not biodegradable, like paper towels and toilet tissue are. This is because they are made with plastic fibers that do not degrade in the environment. Instead, they break down into tiny pieces that pollute waterways and oceans and cause long-term environmental harm.
Another issue with disposable wipes is that they are a single-use product. Once you’ve used them, they become waste and cannot be recycled or composted.
As a result, they end up in landfills and need to be broken down by the natural composting processes.
They can be an even bigger problem if they are improperly disposed of. When flushed down the toilet, they can break into microplastic particles that enter our waterways and oceans and cause severe harm to marine life. This is why it’s important to use reusable cleaning products not made with toxic chemicals. For example, pre-moistened cleaning wipes are ready to use. They’re already saturated with diluted disinfectants and won’t lose efficacy after being mixed and prepped by your janitorial staff. This reduces the risk of chemical spills affecting your facility and your staff.