Eco-friendly Parenting: Wet Wipe Alternatives Good for Your Baby & the Environment

After diapers, wet wipes are likely the next most used disposable item in every parent's list of baby hygiene products. In today's post, we'll be talking about how you can reduce your use of wet wipes to incorporate more eco-friendly practices into your parenting!

Wait... wet wipes aren't eco-friendly?

Unfortunately, no.

Most wet wipes (including baby wipes) contain microplastic fibres, which means they are not biodegradable. Additionally, many people treat wet wipes like wet versions of tissue or toilet paper, disposing of them by flushing them down the toilet. The wet wipes themselves clog up sewer pipes and the microplastics find themselves being released into the ocean.

Wet wipes have become an essential part of many parents' hygiene routines. Wet wipes to sanitise dirty surfaces before the little one sits and plays there, alcohol-free baby wipes to clean the little one's grimy fingers before and after food, more baby wipes to clean up pee and poo residue during diaper changes.

So what can we do to reduce or perhaps even eliminate our use of wet wipes?

Before considering alternatives, first stop flushing.

If you are currently flushing your wet wipes down the toilet, the easiest change to make would be to throw them away in the nearest dustbin instead. We consider this change "easy" because you don't need to switch and get used to a new product, or fork out more money.

This simple act of throwing your wet wipes into the trash can contribute greatly to ensuring that our sewers aren't clogged and microplastics don't end up harming marine life!

When you're considering switching to more environmentally-friendly products, take a look at our guide below:

Alternative I: Biodegradable, Plastic-Free Wipes

If convenience is your prime motivating factor, but you still hope to do some good for the environment, consider switching to biodegradable wipes that are free of microplastics.

The most common of such options these days are bamboo wipes. Bamboo has become a popular replacement option for cotton as the production of bamboo products is much less resource-intensive than those of cotton.

Take a look at the pros and cons list of this option to help you make your decision.

Pros

  • Convenient
  • Will decompose in the landfill
  • Will not leak microplastics if accidentally flushed

Cons

  • Single-use
  • Usually more expensive than regular wet wipes

Some Biodegradable Wet Wipe Options

  • GAIA Bamboo Baby Wipes
  • Cloversoft Unbleached Bamboo Organic Pure Water Baby Wipes
  • Kindee Organic Bamboo Baby Wipes

Do note that you will still need to dispose of your biodegradable wipes in the trash! Biodegradable wipes require the right conditions to decompose and the sewer does not provide such conditions. This means flushing biodegradable wipes down the toilet will STILL cause blockage, although no microplastics will leak into the ocean.

Alternative II: Cotton Pads & Water

Why not consider making your own wet wipes by placing some water into a spray bottle and spritzing a cotton pad whenever you need it?

Pros

  • Relatively convenient
  • Will decompose in the landfill
  • Will not leak microplastics if accidentally flushed
  • You know what goes into the product
  • Cheaper than wet wipes

Cons

  • Less convenient than wet wipes
  • Single-use
  • Cotton pads generally have a smaller surface area, which makes cleaning poo more difficult
  • Producing cotton is more resource intensive

Do remember that you should also throw cotton pads away into the trash. They are more similar to wet wipes than toilet paper, and cannot break down in the sewer.

Alternative III: Reusable Wipes & Water

The final (and most sustainable) option is, of course, to go zero-waste. Ditch the disposable wet wipes completely and go for reusable wipes instead. While this option is the most eco-friendly, it does require that you change your habits. You'll need a good stock of reusable wipes (we recommend at least 20), a pail for soiled wipes and ziplock bags for storing soiled wipes when you're outdoors.

Pros

  • Most sustainable alternative to wet wipes
  • Will decompose in the landfill
  • You know what goes into the product
  • Cheaper than wet wipes in the long run

Cons

  • Relatively inconvenient

Some Reusable Wipe Options

If you're already using cloth diapers with your little one, switching to reusable cloth wipes from disposable wet wipes should not be too much of a hassle, since both require the same type of preparation.

On the other hand, if you're just starting your zero-waste practice, you may want to ease yourself in. For example, you can switch to reusable wipes while at home and biodegradable wet wipes while outside with your little bub. Or you may choose reusable wipes if your baby has peed in their diaper, and stick with biodegradable wet wipes if they have pooped.

While reducing waste is a great way to become more sustainable, if you're not ready to make such a change at once, take small steps instead!

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At Bambino, we are committed to helping parents with their sustainable practices. Sign up for a baby clothing subscription box today to help reduce textile waste in our environment!


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