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Tesco first to ban all plastic baby wipes

Words by Smiley Team

Tesco says it has become the first major UK retailer to ban plastic-based baby wipes from its stores. 

As Tesco stopped using plastic in its own label baby wipes two years ago, the entire range will now be plastic-free.  The move is significant as Tesco sells more than 75 million packs or 4.8 billion individual baby wipes each year.   

It’s not just baby wipes that have been reformulated by the supermarket, all branded and own-label wipes in UK stores – bar one - are now plastic free. 

Plastic-free wipes include moist toilet tissue and general cleaning wipes. There is only one type of wipe available at Tesco that contains plastic, a pet wipe, which will be plastic-free by the end of the year. 

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Tesco started to make its own-label wet wipes plastic-free in 2020 and has since been switching to bio-degradable viscose as it breaks down far quicker. 

Tesco Group Quality Director Sarah Bradbury said: “We have worked hard to remove plastic from our wipes as we know how long they take to break down.”

“There is no need for wet wipes to contain plastic so from now on we will no longer stock them if they do.”

In addition to being plastic-free, Tesco’s moist toilet tissue wipes are certified and labelled as ‘fine to flush’. Non-flushable wipes stocked by the supermarket are clearly labelled as ‘do not flush’.

This comes as a part of Tesco’s 4Rs packaging strategy to tackle the impact of plastic waste. This means Tesco removes plastic where it can, reduces where it can't, looks at ways to reuse more and recycle what's left.

Since the strategy started in August 2019, Tesco has reduced its packaging by 6000 tonnes, including the removal of 1.5bn pieces of plastic. It has also launched a reusable packaging trial with Loop and launched soft plastic collection points in over 900 stores.  

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