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A Q&A with the creator of our new 100% biodegradable wipes

The same fantastic high performance antibacterial wipes but now 100% biodegradable.

As the drive for sustainability continues to grow, cleaning products need to be continually reviewed and improved to meet sustainability goals. That’s why we developed our biodegradable wipes, using the same clinically proven formula to effectively kill bacteria, while also being kinder on the planet.

Having been the Managing Director of Uniwipe since the company launched, Edward Rabey has been at the forefront of our innovative new product developments, cultivating a superior standard when it comes to anti-bacterial wipes.

In this blog post, we asked Edward to share why our 100% biodegradable wipes were developed, what makes them stand out among other wipes on the market and his highlights during the development process…

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Why have the 100% biodegradable wipes been developed?

“Initial research and development began in response to the global concern around single-use plastics.

“There’s a definite need in the market to be more sustainable and as a company we’re moving in that direction and want to do our bit to protect the environment and minimise the amount of plastic in our products in order to do so.”

How did the Uniwipe team create the biodegradable wipes?

“To create a high-performance product that would meet the superior standards we’ve come to be known for, a lot of time was spent in research and development in order to produce a wipe that was biodegradable but also able to release the all-important chemicals onto a surface and achieve the same bacteria kill rate as our other wipes.

“This is something that is very difficult to achieve, we’ve been working very hard in the background and are proud to say that our Bio Clinical wipes are made from 100% plant-based fibres with no alcohol – making them gentle on surfaces. They have a level of durability and disinfectant that is unlike anything else on the market, with the ability to kill up to 99.999% of bacteria and viruses.

“In addition to the product itself, every single part of the packaging is recyclable, which helps us get closer to our goal of having all product packaging 100% recyclable.”

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What problem do the Bio Clinical wipes solve and who have they been designed for?

“Our in-house manufacturing and technical teams developed the Bio Clinical wipes to protect people from germs and to help save lives, while also doing our bit for the environment.

“These wipes have been designed specifically for companies, factories, schools, universities, offices and healthcare settings who want to keep their environment as clean as possible but also want to play their part in protecting the planet. This is something which has become increasingly important as many businesses strive towards net zero targets and need to be purchasing sustainable supplies in order to achieve this.”

Why was now the right time to develop this product?

“Since the pandemic, more and more people have been using wipes to keep themselves and others safe from germs and viruses. The drive for cleanliness has sky-rocketed and people have become increasingly aware of the many touch points in every setting, such as door handles, tables, bannisters, the list goes on.

“Of course, keeping spaces clean is something we fully endorse at Uniwipe, but this needs to be done sustainably. Carbon emissions, climate change and the damage of single use plastic is something we simply cannot ignore anymore, so developing a biodegradable wipe was a high priority for us.”

How long did it take to develop this product and what were the key milestones?

“It took a while to get there! At Uniwipe we’re always innovating and developing new products that meet our customers needs and challenge what is possible. This product took us a long time because it was crucial for us to marry up the technology so that we could create a wipe that would kill bacteria and be biodegradable at the same time.

“One of the key factors was that we had to make sure these wipes would be durable and strong enough to withstand being used to wipe surfaces. There’s many biodegradable wipes out there but they’re like paper and fall apart quite easily, so we put a lot of time into ensuring the strength of the wipe and could stand up to the job.

“Throughout the industry, packaging needs to be considered more. Tubs are not ideal as the wipes are on a continuous roll with perforations, so users can end up using more of the product than needed and the product often dries out. Our specially designed packs have moisture-locking lids and are z-folded to dispense one wipe at a time. This makes the product more cost-effective and produces less waste.”

How did you instil a high quality at each stage of the product development?

“Creating a very high standard of product is what we do with all of our products, we don’t bring products to market that aren’t high quality and effective. It’s what we’re known for.

“Every stage of the process from design to build has many checkpoints throughout it to make sure every Uniwipe product is of the highest quality and meets the standards our customers expect. We do a lot of stress testing and testing germ kill rate to make sure it’s up to standard, with independent testing carried out as well.”

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What makes these biodegradable wipes better than what’s already available from competitors?

“We were one of the first to market with a wipe that could be this effective and biodegradable – it’s something which hasn’t been done before and we’re proud to be among the first.

“Our wipes have been tested to EN14476 and EN16615 standards, both of which are specifically used to demonstrate whether or not a wipe has the ability to kill bacteria and viruses. A lot of competitors have different types of disinfection tests but not always to the required EN standards.

“The fact that we produce our wipes here in the UK is another huge factor in terms of sustainability and carbon footprint, because a lot of other wipes on the market are imported from the far east. It also means we have a continuous supply to meet our customers demands, and are in complete control of the production process from start to finish so we can ensure that every pack of biodegradable wipes you get are tested to the correct standard, with multiple checks throughout the manufacturing process.”

What was your personal highlight in the development of the biodegradable wipes?

“I would say it was the breakthrough in technology that meant we could actually do something which hasn’t been done before. This was something we had wanted to do for a while, so pulling together the technology, the chemicals and fabric to produce this product on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic was a fantastic achievement.

“The incredible amount of teamwork involved was a real highlight for me. It was a long and drawn out process to get the product right, with many people involved from all angles of the business, but every step we took meant we reached a milestone in achieving it. It was exciting right the way through because we solved one problem then another and so on until we had something that was far superior to what was currently available.

“Going forward, this means a lot of great things for wipes – we can do a lot more with them now that the technology has increased and improved, to ensure that we’re moving towards a fully sustainable future.”

 

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