UK retailer Boots has vowed to stop selling all wet wipes that contain plastic fibres by the end of the year, Sky News reported.

The pharmacy chain is one of the biggest sellers of wet wipes in the country, with more than 140 different brands stocked across skincare, baby, tissue and health care categories.

After selling more than 800 million wet wipes last year, it now plans to replace plastic-based wipes with plant-based biodegradable alternatives. It comes after Boots reformulated its own-brand wipe ranges without plastic.

The Marine Conservation Society claim that a large proportion of the 11 billion wet wipes used in the UK every year still contain some form of plastic – with evidence suggesting they cause more than nine in 10 sewage blockages.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said the move is a “really encouraging commitment from Boots to prevent the damaging plastics in wet wipes from entering our environment”.

She added: “We have already conducted a call for evidence on wet wipes, including the potential for banning those containing plastic.

“In the meantime, our message is clear – you should bin and not flush wet wipes.”

Marine Conservation Society chief executive Sandy Luk said: “It’s a fantastic step in the right direction for retailers, like Boots, to remove plastic from their own brand wet wipes and ask that all brands they stock do the same.

“Our volunteers found nearly 6,000 wet wipes during the Great British Beach Clean in September 2021, which is an average of 12 and a half wet wipes for every 100 metres of beach surveyed.

The full story from Sky News can be read here, as well as coverage in The i. The press release can be found here.

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