Parents across the UK are panicking over a recent government pledge to eliminate wet wipes from the country, in the ongoing war on plastic and in a bid to save marine life.
Despite writing previously about trying to become a "Blue Planet Parent", I'm inclined to agree with them. Especially the one who wrote on Twitter: "Wet wipes are literally God's gift to the world. They work on everything."
Until 2010 I had never purchased wet wipes. But then I had my first child and, after quickly ditching the cotton wool and bowl of cool boiled water suggested by my midwife (seriously, who has time for that when faced with a 2am nappy situation?), I became a fully fledged addict.
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As soon as my eldest was out of nappies, her newborn sister was in them. And during this time I realised there was little wet wipes couldn't do: cleaning sticky fingers and muddy shoes, getting food stains out of clothes and crayon scribbles off walls, cleaning out the rabbit hutch and even giving the bathroom sink and kitchen worktop a quick once over before my mother-in-law arrives.
So it's no wonder the wet wipe industry has grown in the last decade, with wipes that do everything from apply sun cream to remove make-up (I buy these, too).
But news of the ban has made me re-examine my use. Wet wipes are responsible for 93 per cent of blockages in UK sewers, so the government is urging consumers not to flush them (something I never do). And most wipes contain non-biodegradable materials, like plastic and polyester, so manufacturers are being encouraged to make planet-friendlier versions.
So, what to do? Like most things (plastic, sugar, wine on a work night), rather than banning it altogether I'm going to be a little more mindful about my wet wipe use. I'll buy the biodegradable wipes from now on, and use them sparingly.
But if my youngest faceplants a muddy puddle in the park or my mother-in-law is due round at any moment? Quick, pass the wipes…