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Brief Published: 13 Jun 2018

New Biodegradable Wet Wipes Lessen Beauty’s Impact on Oceans


Following a number of microbead bans in the cosmetics industry, consumer demand for sustainable beauty has increased. Is eliminating environmentally damaging wet wipes the next mainstream solution?

Green beauty brands are creating eco-friendly wet wipes, responding to consumers’ concerns about the toxic impact of water pollution.

Estimates suggest that by 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans by weight (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017). The beauty industry is a major contributor to this. In the UK alone, there has been a 700% increase in the number of wet wipes found along the coastline over the last decade (Marine Conservation Society, 2017).

 Stylus explores two innovative products looking to tackle the problem:

  • Yes To: American skincare brand Yes To’s new Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Travelsize Facial Cleansing Wipes confront the problem head-on.

    The wipes are made from cellulose, a plant fibre that’s typically found in vegetables such as kale and broccoli. This core material is a biodegradable, compostable and renewable alternative to the plastic binders commonly used in the mass market.
  • Pacifica: US brand Pacifica is similarly tapping into this concept with its new biodegradable Pineapple Wipe Out Oil Cleansing Wipes. The wipes also offer an additional aspect of eco-friendliness, since users are not required to re-cleanse after using them, saving on water usage.

    With 18% of American personal-care users wishing their routine was shorter (Mintel, 2016), we believe this launch offers an efficient and sustainable solution for consumers on the go.

For more on eco-friendly beauty and sustainable design solutions, see The Great Beauty Green-Up, Material Direction: Evolving Plastics and Packaging Innovations 2018.

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