Travel Ready: Biodegradable Body Wipes
Most of us have become accustomed to using wipes throughout our daily lives in a variety of ways. The handy little towels are always there to clean our houses, bodies, and our families. Let's not forget traveling. When you don't have your own washroom at the ready, disposable wipes become a true lifesaver.
With their ultra-convenient allure and myriad uses, it's no surprise that 16.31 million Americans used pre-moistened wipes 31 times or more every week in 2020, according to The Statista Research Department. When you see numbers like that, we must question the environmental impact.
So are disposable wipes too good to be true? Or is there a responsible way to use them? Read on as we explore the ins and outs of the eco-friendly alternative: biodegradable wipes.
The impact of wet wipes on the environment
The unfortunate truth is that wet wipes are contributing to a massive amount of waste in not only America but the whole world. The average wipe does not biodegrade, contains harsh chemicals, and is usually disposed of incorrectly. The conventional culprits like baby wipes and cleansing wipes are made of synthetic materials like rayon, polyester, and microplastic fibers, which can take a shocking 100 years to decompose!
Even worse, many consumers receive incorrect information about how to dispose of their towelettes after each use. It turns out that flushing wipes down the toilet — yes, even those marketed as flushable wipes — cause major blockages in our sewer systems. Backups can become so severe that they lead to costly repairs and sewage spills in our precious oceans. In addition, flushed wipes are beginning to overrun our water treatment facilities and interfere with our water filtration system.
Beyond the materials of the wipe itself is its list of ingredients that are meant to cleanse, moisturize, or deodorize. Unsurprisingly, you'll find alcohol, a low-cost disinfectant that typically causes dryness and skin irritation, especially in those with sensitive skin. Most wet wipes also contain a host of harmful parabens and other preservatives, phthalates, and artificial fragrances. The FDA approves these substances in our products because they are found in small amounts, but the issue lies in their repeated use, which we look into more ahead.
What about bioaccumulation?
The truth about products we use daily is that we aren't just exposing ourselves and the environment once. It's continuous and long-term. This is why the concept of bioaccumulation is important when it comes to the materials and ingredients found in standard wet wipes. According to ScienceDirect, bioaccumulation "occurs when an organism absorbs a toxic substance at a rate greater than that at which the substance is eliminated." This essentially means that a harmful substance gradually builds up in a living being (animals or humans) or the environment because it cannot get rid of it quickly enough, leading to a dangerous accumulation. Thankfully, eco friendly wipes are on the rise, and they are made with compostable materials and clean ingredients.
What are biodegradable wipes?
The average wet wipes are made from plastic, which, as we mentioned, have serious impacts on the environment and our oceans. But biodegradable wipes are an eco friendly alternative that is equally convenient and much gentler on the planet. To clearly understand what biodegradable means, here is the definition: "a substance or object capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms." Biodegradable wipes are plant based, allowing them to decompose in as little as 28 days.
The natural fibers found in biodegradable wipes range from bamboo to wood pulp to organic cotton. They are then soaked with water and natural, plant based cleaning solutions and fragrances. There is genuinely no need to go back to your traditional drug store wipe when the green option is softer and better for your skin.
Good ol' reusable cloths and cleansing pads are another environmentally friendly tool you can pair with your biodegradable wipes. Although this option isn't as handy while you're on the go, it's just as sustainable and, paired with your favorite makeup remover or cleanser, offers the same satisfying scrub we all look for.
Biodegradable cleansing wipes have non-toxic ingredients
You'll never need toxic chemicals to clean yourself, thanks to nature. Our bountiful Mother Earth is bursting with effective ingredients that do the job better than any formula made in a lab could. The beauty in plant oils and extracts is that there is a natural solution for all kinds of skin types. Whether you have oily, dry, or sensitive skin, there's an answer for you found in nature.
The truth is that stores are packed with conventional wet wipes that often contain high levels of alcohol and harsh chemicals that can cause dry and irritated skin. Keep your eyes peeled and avoid ingredients like polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, sodium laureth sulfate, ceteareth, oleth, oxynol, -xynol, and PEG. Quite the mouthful, right!?
So, on top of the biodegradable nature of the wipe itself, look for alcohol free formulas that utilize natural cleaning agents. Essential oils and plant extracts are highly effective in reducing bacteria, deodorizing, and cleansing. Look for peppermint and essential oils and extracts like neem and green tea to refresh and reenergize. Tea tree oil infused facial towelettes are also excellent at combating acne-causing bacteria. But the best part about turning to nature is that you can discover incredibly soothing ingredients, which keep even sensitive skin completely ph balanced.
How to dispose of cleansing wipes
NEVER flush your wipes! Many expect biodegradable wipes to dissolve immediately once you flush them, but this isn't the case. They simply do not break down fast enough to flow through our pipes and water network without causing a clog. Our sewage systems are very fragile, so flushing anything but toilet paper and waste can cause backups that will affect your plumbing and the health of our oceans. Even if the packaging says a product is flushable, this doesn't guarantee it won't cause issues. It's better to be safe and never flush wipes down the toilet than wind up with a high plumbing bill down the line.
As we mentioned above, an accumulation of unwanted materials in our sewage system (which include flushed wipes) can cause massive clogs called fatbergs. These huge blockages can lead to an overflow of sewage into our oceans, causing detrimental effects on marine life and our ocean's delicate ecosystem. So, make sure to throw your biodegradable wipes into the trash or compost bin.
The choice to live sustainably is about committing to small, responsible decisions over and over each and every day. If all of the Earth's population is disrespecting the planet in small ways every day, like throwing away conventional wipes or flushing them, these actions add up to damaging, irreversible effects. Organizations are working to reverse the destruction, but the most power lies in prevention efforts. And this is where our daily choices come into play.
The benefits of traveling with biodegradable wipes
You're missing out if you're not traveling with your trusty biodegradable towelettes. There are dozens of reasons you should pack compostable wet wipes on your next adventure. First off, if you have a road trip or camping plans this summer, you'll know that running water, let alone a shower, will be far within reach. But with a good quality pack of wipes, you'll have your waterless shower on the go. The best biodegradable wipes are infused with aloe vera and organic essential oils for a gentle but super effective body cleansing.
Your trusty eco friendly wipe goes from just handy to completely necessary for trips that include sweaty outdoor activities and babies or kids to keep clean. With this travel essential, you can now respect the planet while enjoying its astounding beauty.
After years of staying home, international travel and long excursions sure sound appealing. But for many of us, lengthy plane rides can leave us feeling a bit dingy. For a quick refresh, bring a set of plant based wet wipes in your carry on to naturally disinfect, clean your skin, and reset your senses. Add in some easy plane exercises and meditative breathing, and you'll be back to feeling like yourself in no time.
All about YUNI's Biodegradable Shower Sheets
We've divulged travel beauty must-haves and the best essential oils for travel, but if we had to choose just ONE product to pack on our adventures, it would be our Shower Sheets. Not only are they a great eco friendly option, but these body wipes effectively cleanse and revitalize from head to toe. Fruit, cucumber, and green tea extracts plus peppermint essential oil gently refresh and deodorize. The star ingredient is the ancient Ayurvedic neem leaf extract, which acts as a natural antibacterial that calms and soothes inflammation. Aloe follows behind with a light moisturizing effect.
Devotees love the larger size wipe and convenient, individual packaging, so they can easily stow each little pouch in their gym bag, purse, or travel case on the go. The Shower Sheets come in two invigorating scents: Peppermint Citrus and Rose Cucumber. So the consensus is final: you can equally respect the planet and yourself by switching to biodegradable wipes.