The supermarket chain is the UK’s largest supplier of products and sells 75 million packs of wet wipes a year. This equates to more than 200,000 per day
A high street supermarket has vowed not to sell plastic baby wipes as it pledges to help the environment.
Tesco, which was the first retailer to ban both plastic bags and microplastics, will no longer buy, sell or produce plastic wet wipes.
The move responds to calls to ban plastic wipes and it is hoped other retailers will follow suit.
A Tesco spokeswoman told The Times: ‘Wet wipes don’t have to contain plastic, so from now on we won’t stock them if they do.’
The supermarket chain is the UK’s largest supplier of products and sells 75 million packs of wet wipes a year.
This equates to more than 200,000 per day.
They are convenient for parents but have become a target for environmental activists
Many wipes use plastic fibers which make them indecomposable and non-recyclable.
Tesco will continue to stock plastic-free wipes and those made by eco-friendly brands including Waterwipes and Rascal + Friends.
The chain said it would strive to make plastic-free toilet wipes from next month and its own brand of plastic-free pet wipes by the end of 2022.
Activists have long called on supermarkets to reduce the amount of plastic-wrapped goods.
Friends of the Earth said the wipes contribute to “the tide of plastic waste that pours into our environment each year, threatening wildlife and destroying our neighborhoods”.
Her pledge follows a similar edging on wipes by health store Holland and Barrett.
The healthcare retailer has announced a complete ban on the sale of all wet wipes products in its 800 stores in the UK and Ireland
And all wet wipes products and variants were replaced with eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives at the end of September 2019.
Millions of wet wipes are sold in the UK every year, with uses ranging from make-up removal and hand sanitizers to surface cleaners.
But EarthWatch Institute and Plastic Oceans UK say 9.3 million wipes are still flushed down the toilet every day in the UK.
This damages marine life and creates huge costs for people due to sewer blockages.
Joanne Cooke, head of beauty at Holland & Barrett, told Inews: ‘The true extent of wet wipes’ impact on water systems’ was evidenced by ‘Fatbergs’ ‘composed primarily of wipes wet”.
She added: “The impact of single-use plastic on the earth is very evident…there are a variety of eco-friendly alternatives to wet wipes that are just as easy, effective and safe for skin.”
Jo Ruxton, founder of the Plastic Oceans Foundation, said at the time: “Single-use plastic items are a big part of this problem and this destruction will soon be irreversible if the world doesn’t change.”
Waitrose and Sainsbury’s have insisted their own wipes are 100% plastic free.
Diaper maker Huggies said it hopes to be plastic-free by 2025.