Wipeout waste with reusable wipes
Kicking the habit with reusable wipes
With single-use waste at the front of everybody’s minds, we know what we have to do, stop using so much stuff and whilst making the switch from disposable to reusable is an obvious route, some habits are harder than others to kick and moving to reusable wipes is certainly one!
Grabbing a packet of wipes as a parent has become such a normal thing we often do it without thinking, we have become so reliant on these little pieces of wet plastic, that in the event of running out, a lot of us would be lost as to what to do…
When Ted finished feeding I cut all his muslin cloths up and made reusable wipes, it was a great idea at the time but they soon started to thread apart and disintegrate in the wash, before I knew it we were off the reusable wagon! I knew deep down my habitual wipe use needed to be stopped, but I kept going back. It got me thinking, where did this reliance come from? Whatever happened to a good old flannel, who invented disposable wipes anyway and how did they become such a parenting staple?
Arthur Julius is recognised as the inventor of the wet wipes. Julius worked in the cosmetics industry and 1958 trademarked the name Wet-Nap, a name for the product that is still being used today. He unveiled his invention at the 1960 National Restaurant Show in Chicago and in 1963 started selling Wet-Nap products to Colonel Sanders for use in his KFC restaurant. When I think about Wet wipes I remember the first time I ever came across them was as a kid at KFC! I didn't know this genuinely was where they first came to market. In the mid 1950s when people began to travel more there was a call for a product that helped you to be able to clean up on the go, however, disposable wipes didn't become mainstream until the 90's. By that point disposable wipes had hit every supermarket in the UK with Huggies and Pampers at the forefront.
Their popularity grew and grew, with them being used for everything from nappy changes, removing makeup to cleaning your surfaces, applying fake tan and even insect repellent. Now we find ourselves in 2019 and using around 11 billion of them a year in the UK. This “handy” little product is responsible for 93% of blockages in sewers in the UK, in the last 10 years has had 400% increase of the number found on beaches from being flushed rather than binned, and they take 100 years to decompose in a landfill!
To break this cycle we need to find reusable wipes that can be as handy, and as simple to use to get more of us stopping the fatbergs from growing and the seas being ruined by once used make up wipes!
TotsBots reusable wipes are made from the leftover material used to make their reusable nappies, so you are guaranteed great absorbency. Compared to my homemade muslin wipes they are made from bamboo and the surface is more textured which allows for better cleaning (i.e. less actual wiping movements required to clean away a poopy bum!) I keep them in a plastic tub with a little water in to keep them moist and ready to use and then throw them in the wash with the reusable nappies. I have now discovered it is quite simple to keep on the wagon with reusable wipes, but preparation is key. So my tips for making the switch are:
Make sure you buy enough. I have 20 wipes; 2 packs of Totsbots reusable wipes, one pack for the house and one for out and about.
Keep them in a tub
An old takeaway container with a sealable lid will do. I pop in a little bit of water in to keep them moist but not wet.
Wash them with your nappies
Or in with your normal wash every 2 days to ensure you have enough on rotation.
I find I use one per nappy change, so roughly 5 a day for the bum and then one whenever he eats. For an initial outlay of £18 for 20 wipes, I am now free from my £6 a week habit of buying water-based wipes. In a month I will be quids in, and when all you need to add is water you know no unknown nasties are touching your little one's delicate skin.
Convenience is a wipe that never runs out, not one that you need to constantly remember to buy then it clogs up our plumbing. With reusable wipes, we can change our habits for the better and help wipe out waste.