Don't Wipe An Apple With Anti-Bac. It Won't Help The Virus Or The Planet

Natalie Fee
Water companies across the UK have been struggling with sewer blockages since more of us have been buying — and flushing — wet wipes.

In the midst of coronavirus, it’s to be expected that our priorities shift and we focus on keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe and healthy. It’s totally understandable that, as we reconfigure our lives, some of our good, green habits will go out the window. And it’s not just us — world leaders have now postponed the COP26 climate change summit until 2021.

Let’s not wipe the slate too clean though. In the midst of this pandemic it’s too easy to ditch our green efforts which had only just been catching on, thanks to environmental campaign groups and the Sir David Attenborough ‘Blue Planet effect’. Now, concerned with contagion, we’re in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and replacing it with truck-loads of wet wipes, hand sanitisers and single-use plastic instead.

Water companies across the UK have been struggling with sewer blockages since more of us have been buying — and flushing — wet wipes, because toilet roll isn’t available and perhaps we don’t fancy installing a toilet shower. But given most wipes are made of polyester and won’t break down in the sewers or water treatment centres, or in rivers or seas when our sewers overflow, we really shouldn’t be flushing them, unless they have a ‘Fine to Flush’ logo. A bin in the bathroom is all it takes — or two if you want to keep your recyclables separate.

Loose fruit and veg are also taking a hit. Rightly cautious about the spread of Covid-19, shoppers are opting for fresh produce wrapped in plastic and, as I’ve spotted on social media, using antibacterial, single-use wipes to clean food before eating it. 

I’m no epidemiologist, but scientific information tells us that coronavirus isn’t a bacteria, so we don’t need antibacterial products to kill it, and secondly, the virus has a fatty membrane, which means that all soaps, which are designed to cut through grease, destroy it. So we can stay safe by frequently washing our hands, and fruit and veg if we...

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