Selfridges has removed all single-use, plastic-based beauty wipes from sale and use in its Beauty Halls’. The ban, announced this week, has seen the retailer replace all single-use beauty wipes with recyclable or re-usable alternatives to encourage its customers to consume more sustainably. The move further reinforces the retailer’s commitment to tackle the issue of ocean plastics following the launch of its Project Ocean campaign almost a decade ago.
The removal comes as Selfridges found more than one in five (20%) consumers use beauty wipes at least once a day with more than a third (35%) considering single-use beauty wipes a necessity to their beauty regime. With £94.8m worth of wipes used in the beauty industry every year, Selfridges’ bold move comes as there is growing concerns from consumers about the over production and use of single-use plastic.
Recent customer research shows that plastics are the main concern of more 84% of Selfridges customers when it comes to materials which have a negative impact on the environment. While nearly half (47%) of consumers consider plastic their main concern about their beauty regime’s impact on the environment, they are often unaware of the scale of the problem. According to Middlesex University, plastic-based single-use wipes can take 100 years to fully degrade, but less than a fifth (19%) of consumers know this. Selfridges’ research also reveals that more than one in ten (13%) of consumers currently flush single-use wipes down the toilet.
Daniella Vega, director of sustainability at Selfridges, comments: “Single-use beauty wipes have been a staple of many beauty drawers, but they are incredibly harmful to the environment. During a recent Selfridges team beach clean, we saw first-hand the impact they have on our waterways and beaches and we were even more motivated to remove them from our stores. We’re proud to have made this commitment and to continue our legacy as a leader in the industry when it comes to our sustainability initiatives.”
Industry experts have been calling for the removal of the harmful wipes for some time. International conservation charity, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), believes that beauty wipes have a damaging impact on habitats and wildlife, and are contributing to the wider problem of ocean plastic.
Fiona Llewellyn, senior marine project manager at ZSL, said: “The impact that single-use plastic products have on our environment is truly devastating. We are delighted that Selfridges has taken this bold decision to remove these beauty wipes from sale, as part of a wider commitment to tackling ocean plastic pollution at source, alongside our ongoing work together on the #OneLess campaign.”
Selfridges is offering its customer of choice of alternatives to single-use beauty wipes. These include:
· Face Halo (3 pack), £18 – This make-up remover quickly removes beauty products, including mascara, using water only. Non-toxic and reusable, this tool replaces up to 500 single-use wipes.
· Sarah Chapman Professional Cleansing Mitts (4 pack), £18 – The mitts recreate a facial cleansing experience in the comfort of your home, all while reducing waste. Their dual-side cotton design lightly exfoliates your face and swiftly removes cleansers, make-up and grime.
· Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Cloths (2 pack), £6 – Designed to work the Clinique’s cleansing balm, these cloths are made of soft muslin in order to be gentle against you skin. The cloths are reusable.
Selfridges is continuing to seek new ways to challenge retail norms and offer its customers sustainable options to ensure their buying decisions are better for people and for planet. Its latest commitments are part of a wider evolving plan to challenge the retail industry to take decisive action and changes in the face of the climate crisis. In September 2019 Selfridges was one of the original signatories of the Fashion Pact, a coalition of influential fashion brands and businesses with the joint goal of ensuring the fashion industry be better for people and planet.