UK Government Plans To Ban Wet Wipes

Wet Wipes Saved From Oceans & Sewers: 1 401 349

DIY wet wipes with healthcare startup SATU Laboratory

Throughout history people have used moisturizing components for cleaning their bottoms—yes I used the B-word—and in many countries, even today, the use of dry toilet paper is considered dirty and unhygienic. In these countries, the most common practice is a thorough, soapy wash and rinse afterwards using a ‘bidet.’ This is logical because we neither clean our face nor hands with a dry towel when they get dirty. So, why are we still using dry toilet paper for our bottoms? That’s completely bizarre!


Out bottom skin is one of the most sensitive areas of our bodies, and after using the loo, we need to get it cleaned properly to avoid any health issues. Toilet paper irritates the skin and is unhygienic. Getting micro-cuts from toilet paper is not uncommon. No matter the quality of the paper you are using, it’s still a paper, and it’s not going to clean the area properly. So, what to do ? Use water? Although it’s a good option, it may not be possible to do so after every time we use the toilet. It may also be a time consuming process. We need an alternative that cleans filth while leaving our bottom skin soft, clean and healthy. Also, bidet toilets may aggravate vaginal microflora, either by depriving normal microflora or facilitating opportunistic infection of fecal bacteria and other microorganisms.

Things are changing—more and more adult people are using wet wipes for improving their personal hygiene. However, wet wipes are expensive and clog up the pipes. Water utilities around the world are having an increasing issue with “flushable” wet wipes in their wastewater system. London, New York and Australian water utilities are facing the same problem. Even the most well known brands try to combine toilet paper with wet wipes. Cottonelle encourages consumers to use its dry and moist toilet paper products in combination, but it only postpones the inevitable. “Flushable” wipes don’t break apart in drains; they also cause blockages and litter beaches. Wet wipes could take up to 100 years to break down because they contain plastic that is ‘virtually indestructible’. UK water companies spend £81+ million each year on blockages caused mainly by “flushable” wet wipes. Meanwhile, “flushable” wet wipes cost Canadian taxpayers $250+ million a year!

Many may argue that wipes that are biodegradable and dissolve under 3 hours are safe to flush, but, actually, they are not. Why? The problem in Europe and also in North America, not to mention many other countries, is the existence of old plumbing systems that can’t even handle 3 ply toilet paper or paper products made from bamboo. So, in perfect conditions, many wipes marketed as flushable would be safe to flush—but we are not living in the perfect world. Add oils, greases or chemicals into the mix and we have a major problem. Right now, even the best flushable wipes block the pipes, stopping other wastes behind them for a few hours. They create blockages, then dissolve. However, even after their dissolution, the obstruction which makes movement or flow difficult or even impossible is already made. It took us years to convince wastewater companies to investigate the standards of what is flushable in perfect conditions, and what is flushable in real life.

There is tremendous difference between being “flushable”, and if it actually should be flushed. 

Currently, there are two differing standards on what can be flushed. One is the standard set out by Water UK (the representative of the water companies who have to deal with stuff that actually ends up in our sewerage systems!). The second standard, often used to inform product labelling in the UK, is the EDANA Standard, which is designed by the product manufacturers themselves. We liken this to a drinks manufacturer setting safe drinking limits. The water companies are very clearly and loudly saying this standard does not comply with the Water Industry standards. The water companies have come together in an unprecedented step to present an international water industry position statement on non flushable and “flushable” labelled products, supported by 15 Countries and over 200 organisations. The statement makes it clear what should and should not be disposed of via a toilet, and supports the view that wet wipes and or similar products should only be marketed with prominent and clear ‘do not flush/bin it’ labelling. For any product to be labelled or considered flushable, it would have to pass the water industry test requirements. Also, the product should not contain plastic or regenerated cellulose to ensure it is truly biodegradable and not causing more microplastics or other non-biodegradable materials to enter the oceans.

If the word ’biodegradable’ is used on a packet or inferred, that doesn’t tell us how long it takes for the product to breakdown; neither does it tell if it is able to breakdown in all environments e.g. freshwater vs. saltwater. This is particularly an issue where the product contains plastic as part of the weave. We know the consumers often think because an item is labelled biodegradable, it can be safely flushed. Sadly, that is unlikely to be the case.

The Solution

Gel Wipe: Environmentally friendly & flushable upgrade to wet wipes for adults. You apply the product onto regular toilet paper before wiping, it cleans, moisturizes dry skin and prevents irritation. It gives clean, fresh feel and soothes damaged skin. The product is 100% flushable, and is safe for children under 3 years. It’s a perfect solution to improve your personal hygiene quickly and the most convenient way to wipe and clean the bottom area. The best thing about Gel Wipe is that it can be used even with your regular toilet paper. Just drop of the gel onto paper and wipe your skin after nr2. It’s 100% flushable and if you use it regularly it will keep you so clean that your underwear will remain stain free as well.

There are also companies which produce sprays and foams for same purpose like our gel but we have an advantage because our higher quality is approved by toilet paper manufacturers. Also we were one of the 6 finalists for the Tissue Innovation Award by RISI in Belgium and Polar Bear Pitching finalist 2017 in Finland. In 2016 I was selected among 7 healthcare startup entrepreneurs in the world by HSC1 in London recognizing our achievements and hard work. Years ago when I started startup SATU laboratory, the Gel Wipe was the only moisturizing component for the regular toilet paper on the market that actually worked. Now in 2017 there are more than 20 firms producing products with similar concept, but we are still the only manufacturer who has the knowledge to produce the highly rated gel.

So next time you have diarrhoea, hemorrhoids or no shower nearby know that we’ve got your back (pun intended).

Learn more: or watch our pitch from the freezing sea.


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