No wet wipes, pet wipes, cleaning wipes or tissues sold in Tesco stores will contain plastic by the end of 2022, the firm has said

Tesco is to stop selling baby wipes containing plastic across its stores nationwide from later this month, as part of the supermarket giant’s wider crackdown on plastic waste across its business and supply chain, it announced yesterday.

The ban, which comes into force from 14 March, covers branded wet wipes as well as other forms of moist toilet tissue and general cleaning wipes, and follows the retailer’s 2020 decision to switch to plastic-free, biodegradable viscose material for its own-brand wet wipes.

Tesco’s own-brand wipes are also certified as being ‘free to flush’, meaning they can be disposed of in toilets without causing sewer blockages known as ‘fatbergs’, unlike a number of leading brands.

Overall, it means that only one form of wet wipe containing plastic will still be available in Tesco stores from mid-March onwards – a pet wipe – although that is also set to be plastic-free by the end of the year, the supermarket said.

The move is significant as Tesco is one of the UK’s largest sellers of wet wipes, with its customers taking home more than 75 million packs or 4.8 billion individual baby wipes each year. It claims to be the first major UK supermarket to announce such a ban.

“We have worked hard to remove plastic from our wipes as we know how long they take to break down,” said Tesco’s quality director Sarah Bradbury. “There is no need for wet wipes to contain plastic so from now on we will no longer stock them if they do.”

Tesco is not the first retailer to clamp down on wet wipes. Holland and Barrett banned the sale of all wet-wipe products from its 800 UK and Ireland stores in September 2019, opting for reusable alternatives instead, while the Body Shop has also removed face wipes from its stores.

The move forms part of Tesco’s wider strategy to cut down on unnecessary plastic and waste, which has seen it reduce its packaging by 6,000 tonnes, including the removal of 1.5 billion pieces of plastic, since 2019.

It has also launched a reusable packaging trial with retail recycling initiative Loop, as well as rolling out soft plastic collection points at over 900 of its stores.

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