Do biodegradable wipes contain plastic? Will they decompose in a landfill? And what does ‘biodegradable’ even mean? If you’re looking for the answer to any of these questions, you’ve come to the right place.
As an eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable brand, transparency is important to us. That’s why we’re on a mission to decode the confusing terminology and sustainability claims around biodegradable wipes.
From which bin they go in to how ‘biodegradable’ differs from ‘compostable,’ here’s everything you need to know about the eco-friendly alternative to face or wet wipes.
What does ‘biodegradable’ really mean?
In its simplest terms, if something is ‘biodegradable’ it means that it will decay naturally and eventually be reabsorbed into nature, ideally without causing any pollution or environmental damage. Some things are naturally biodegradable, like food and plants, while other items can break down into harmful chemicals or gases.
If you’re confused how ‘biodegradable’ differs from ‘compostable,’ you’d be forgiven – there’s considerable overlap. Both are intended to be returned back into the environment without causing any damage to it. Ultimately, the key difference is that while compostable materials require special composting conditions, biodegradable substances are a bit less fussy. All they really need are microbes (the particles that do the decomposing), as well as adequate moisture, a reasonable temperature, and a healthy supply of oxygen and light.
Is biodegradable good for the environment?
Now that’s the catch because most things can actually biodegrade over time – even plastic. It’s how long it takes to that matters. Plastics can take up to 100 years to biodegrade in landfills and eventually release toxic, harmful greenhouse gases. Often it’s just broken down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic, called microplastics which by the way, are harmful to wildlife, waterways. The shocking statistic is that 90% of the 11 billion wipes sold in the UK contain plastic.
While some landfill sites convert the gases into energy, it’s not always proven to be 100% effective and there is evidence that they may not decompose at all.
Does that mean all wipes are bad for the environment?
Not quite, innovative single-use wipes such LBB’s Take Off – Touch Down are emerging with planet-friendly, 100% naturally-derived, biodegradable and plastic-free alternatives. Typically made from sustainable fibres like plant, cotton or bamboo cellulose, for example. These contain no harmful plastic or further toxic materials and will biodegrade in a matter of weeks. While there is still a lot of ambiguity around labelling, the truth is that if you are unsure, contact your manufacturer and ask the question. If they are doing the right thing, like we do, they’ll have no qualms about letting you know.
Is it safe to throw my Take Off-Touch Down biodegradable wipes away with general waste?
Yes! As LBB’s wipes are 100% plastic-free and made from plant fibres, water and a 100% natural skincare formula, our wipes biodegrade quickly, much faster than wipes containing plastic so therefore won’t add to the plastic waste problems in our landfill.
Some biodegradable wipes can also technically be composted. However, make sure you double check the labels before throwing them in your compost bin!
To flush or not to flush?
The general advice is not to flush when it comes to wipes – even biodegradable wipes! Heard of fatbergs? Flushing wipes can lead to expensive and hugely environmentally damaging blockages. In fact, one study found that wet wipes amounted to 93% of the matter causing sewer blocks in the UK!
Saying that some more delicate “fanny” wipes are flushable. If you leave in the UK, look out for the ‘Fine to Flush’ logo. A standard created by Water UK on behalf of the water and sewerage industry to help you identify which wipes can be flushed.
What makes Take Off – Touch Down stand out?
We firmly believe that all wipes were not created equal! Convenience definitely shouldn’t come at the expense of the planet or your skincare. With our Take Off – Touch Down, it really doesn’t have to!
Think of our wipes as a shower and facial in a wipe! Larger than mainstream cosmetic wipes and c.2x as thick as baby wipes, the multi-tasking formula removes makeup, exfoliates, tones, brightens and hydrates the face, with plenty left over to cool down and freshen up your body. Use it wherever you are eeffortlessly – on the road, between flights, after exercise, at music festivals, whenever a shower is unavailable… Or simply on days when you are too tired to face a full skincare routine.
Individually wrapped, each cloth allows the high-efficacy, 100% natural skincare formulas to remain fresher and effective for longer. This also prevents unnecessary waste. Gone are the days of opening a pack of wipes only for it to have dried out a few days later… While the cloths and our outer boxes are 100% eco-friendly, you might have noticed that the foil is not totally there yet. Rest assured, we’re working on a solution!
Plus, with skincare heroes like salicylic acid, hydrating algae and microbiome protective probiotics and prebiotics, caring about the planet never looked so good!
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love our newsletter – Sign up here .