The UK Government has announced the launch of a consultation on banning the production, supply, and sale of wet wipes containing plastic across the country.

The consultation opened on 14 October and will continue until 25 November.

It has been launched as part of the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’ Plan for Water to clean waterways and tackle plastic pollution in the country.

The six-week consultation also forms a part of the government’s ongoing efforts to ensure that there is more investment to maintain stronger regulation and tougher enforcement across the UK’s water sanitation system.

The wider agenda of this scheme is to eliminate all types of avoidable plastic waste by 2042.

The government said that banning the use of wet wipes comprising plastic is expected to help alleviate the issue via a reduction in microplastics that enter wastewater treatment plants after wrongly being flushed down the toilet.

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Water UK CEO David Henderson said: “When flushed, these wipes cause fatbergs and other blockages that trigger overflow spills into rivers or flood homes and businesses.

“As our Bin the Wipe campaign makes clear, these products should never be flushed.

“We can all do our bit by putting wet wipes in the bin, rather than flushing them.”

According to the UK government, some alternatives to replace wet wipes containing plastic are already available in the market.  

Notable UK retailers, including Boots, Tesco, and Aldi, have already ceased the sale of wet wipes containing plastic.

UK Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “Today’s plan shows we will continue to tackle plastic pollution in our waterways, building on banning microbeads in personal care products to taking billions of plastic bags out of circulation.”

The latest move comes a few months after the UK Government urged local wet wipe manufacturers to address the rising concerns over the misleading “flushable” labelling on their products.