Can I Compost Wet wipes/Baby wipes?(From the Household waste category | No comments yet - start the conversation)
It doesn’t matter whether they’re for wiping sticky fingers after a meal, cleaning up industrial spills or wiping a baby’s bottom, no, you can’t compost wet wipes.
Though wet wipes are usually made from paper (“air-laid” to make it soft, fluffy and absorbent), they sometimes include synthetic fibres to increase softness or durability. Synthetic fibres will not decompose on a compost heap – they will break up rather than break down, leaving lots of tiny synthetic fibres throughout your lovely soil.
The “wet” bit of the wipe is also problematic – depending on the type of wipe, they’re impregnated with various chemicals such as moisturising lotions, detergents or perfumes. Most people do not want unknown chemicals introduced into their compost, especially if they will be using it on veg beds or the like. Anti-bacterial wipes or those containing isopropyl alcohol can also have disrupt the delicate microbes in your compost heap – the ones that are essential for speedy and efficient decomposition.
Finally, items cleaned up using wet wipes can cause composting problems too: oils/greases or dairy products might attract rats or other unwanted visitors to the heap; human fecal matter may introduce nasty pathogens to your compost; cleaning products, especially those containing bleach or other antibacterial properties, can kill off friendly composting bacteria; and finally, things like paint or engine oil can have a serious environmental impact.
As well as not being added to a compost heap, wet wipes should never be flushed down a toilet – they can cause problems for sewerage works as they do not break down like regular toilet paper. If you are worried about the amount of wet wipes you are sending to landfill, consider moving onto washable cloths instead of wipes. Reusable cotton wipes can be composted at the end of their lifespan – which will be a whole lot longer than a single use wipe.