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Over the past few years, wet wipes have migrated from diaper bags into cosmetics kits as a tool for easy and effective makeup removal. Made of synthetic materials and taking decades to decompose, the convenience of these single-use wipes, even some of those claiming to be flushable, comes at a pretty high cost to both the environment and urban infrastructures. In Britain, for example, the 2016 Great British Beach Clean found 14 wet wipes for every 100 metres of coastline. The following year, workers in London’s sewage network discovered them in the infamous fatberg, an atrocious mass of congealed fat, wet wipes and diapers weighing some 130 tonnes.

Retailers and brands alike are taking steps to help guide consumers to more sustainable practices and products. Leading the way across the pond is Selfridges, which removed single-use, plastic-based beauty wipes from its shelves in November. An alternate to these synthetic towelettes are wipes made of biodegradable fibres available from brands such as Kaia Naturals, Beautycounter, Yes To and more. This month, Almay launches its first biodegradable makeup-up removing wipes, which are also fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. Bear in mind that it’s critical to dispose of the wipes properly in your compost or green bin. Otherwise, the natural biodegradation process won’t happen.

Almay Biodegradable Longwear Make Up Remover Cleansing Towelettes, $10.49 at drugstores and mass retailers.

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