UK-Wide Ban On Wet Wipes Containing Plastic


The sale and supply of wet wipes containing plastic across the UK are to be banned by the UK Government.
The legislation in England will be brought forward by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) ahead of summer recess, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland aiming to enforce legislation by the autumn period.

The Problem

The breakdown of wet wipes containing plastic, results in the production of microplastics over a period of time. These microplastics are detrimental to our ecosystems and can affect human health; multiple UK beaches were surveyed by DEFRA between 2015 – 2020, with an average of 20 wet wipes found per 100 metres. Plastic-containing wet wipes can collect chemical and biological pollutants, that result in the risk of exposure to humans and animals. Reducing the volume of microplastics, as a result of implementing this ban will reduce the amount of these wet wipes entering wastewater treatment sites when they are flushed.

When the public were consulted, there was overwhelmingly positive feedback and support for the proposed ban. This will be introduced under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, via secondary legislation.

There will an 18-month transition period that will begin when the legislation is accepted, which will help businesses to prepare and adapt to the change. The ban does not include the manufacturing of these products which links to other single-use plastic bans that have been put into effect. Although, manufacturers will still be encouraged to transition to producing plastic-free wet wipes by the Government. There have been exemptions that have been established by the Government to allow wet wipes that contain plastic to be readily available if there is no viable alternative [1].

How Can WPSCC Help?

At WPSCC we help our clients to minimise the impact their operations have on the environment. We will primarily keep you legal – in relation to both Environmental Law and Environmental Permit requirements (whether Environment Agency, or Local Authority issued). Also, we offer Waste Classification services that ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and reduces the risk of environmental contamination and health hazards.


Call us NOW on 01604 859961, or email [email protected] to ask our advice / guidance


[1] UK Government. (2024). UK-wide ban on wet wipes containing plastic to be put into law. [ONLINE]. Available at: UK-wide ban on wet wipes containing plastic to be put into law – GOV.UK (

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