QUICK boot clean? Quick wipe over your horse before you enter the ring? Equestrians the world over love a wet wipe, but these single-use cleaning short-cuts are a scourge on the environment, and as highlighted at the recent COP26 conference, there are a million reasons to wave goodbye to convenience.
To sum it up, the plastic in wet wipes doesn’t go away. It just slowly breaks down into smaller particles, polluting our land, rivers and seas, and entering wildlife and human food chains. Even the more eco-friendly-sounding aren’t as green you’d hope.
There’s controversy over how fast or fully these processed materials do or don’t biodegrade in the natural environment.
The vast majority of wet wipes contain microplastic fibres which do not biodegrade in the environment. As a result, people flushing wet wipes down the toilet is the single most significant cause of sewer blockages - they accounted for 93% of the matter which caused such blockages last year.
These blockages have an enormous economic impact on the country, and it costs the government millions of taxpayers’ money to unclog the drains. In addition, these blockages can have an incredibly damaging effect on the natural world. According to the environmental group Plastic Oceans Foundation research, eight million tons of plastic find their way into our oceans per annum.
So it might be time to pull out the boot brush and the body brush and a good old fashioned cloth to get you and your horse shining in the arena this season.