Posted: Mon 22nd Apr 2024

Nationwide ban on wet wipes containing plastic set to be introduced

Wrexham.com for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

The UK government together with Welsh, Scottish, and Northern Irish administrations have announced plans to ban the supply and sale of wet wipes containing plastic.

The decision follows a joint consultation launched in October 2023, involving the UK, Welsh, Scottish, and Northern Irish governments, which received a significant endorsement from the public, with 1,561 responses.

95% of respondents supported the proposed ban.

The planned ban on wet wipes will exclude those necessary for medical and industrial applications, acknowledging the challenges of substituting these products with viable alternatives.

An 18-month transition period will be granted to manufacturers to adjust their production lines, minimizing economic disruptions and job losses.

Defra plans to introduce the necessary legislation before the summer recess.

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay emphasised the urgency of addressing plastic pollution, which not only affects the environment but also contributes to microplastic contamination.

Barclay stated, “Wet wipes containing plastic are polluting our waterways and causing microplastics to enter the environment. We are determined to crack down on this unnecessary source of pollution, continuing our efforts following the single-use carrier bag charge and the ban on microbeads in personal care products.”

Huw Irranca-Davies, MS, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs said in a written statement: “Our Circular Economy Strategy, Beyond Recycling, published in 2021, sets out our goal to achieve zero waste by 2050.

“A key commitment in the Strategy is to phase out single-use plastic products, with the longer-term objective of addressing other single-use products regardless of material.

“Our 2020 consultation, Reducing Single Use Plastics, received overwhelming support for proposals to ban several commonly littered single-use plastic products in Wales, with over 85% of respondents in favour.

“Respondents to the consultation also urged the Welsh Government to go further with some additional 60 products suggested for future action.

“We heeded these calls and introduced the Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Act 2023.

“This is a key piece of legislation aimed at turning the tide on plastic pollution. The first phase of bans has already commenced and, subject to the will of the Senedd, a second phase will be completed before the end of this Senedd term.  

“As the Act passed through the Senedd, my predecessor agreed to prioritise consideration of bans for several other products, this included wet wipes containing plastic.

“A UK wide approach has been agreed to introduce regulations to prohibit the sale and supply of wet wipes containing plastic to be delivered by each individual Government.

“Adopting this approach will ensure consistency in how our regulations are implemented and will help provide businesses and manufacturers with a clear understanding of what is required of them.

“Between 14 October and 25 November 2023, we jointly consulted with the Scottish Government, the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive on the proposed ban of the manufacture, supply and sale of wet wipes containing plastic.

“A total of 1461 responses were received, 104 from Wales. 

“It is our intention for the ban on wet wipes containing plastic to come into force by June 2026.”

 

 



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