A new nationwide study from reusable baby wipe brand Cheeky Wipes reveals the vast quantity of single-use waste generated by British consumers – and wipes, tea bags and nappies are topping the charts.

With more than 7,000 single-use items hitting Britain’s landfill sites every year, Cheeky Wipes reports that the average citizen annually throws away the following:

  • 3,796 baby wipes and 1,352 nappies (in parents with a child under two years old)
  • 1,560 tea bags
  • 795 paper towels
  • 689 food packaging items
  • 416 drinks cans
  • 416 antibacterial wipes
  • 364 face wipes
  • 364 drinks bottles
  • 312 disposable face masks
  • 312 bin liners
  • 312 cotton wipes
  • 264 cotton buds
  • 208 sheets of silver foil
  • 156 coffee cups
  • 156 condoms
  • 156 plastic straws
  • 84 period products
  • 52 disposable razors
  • 52 shampoo bottles
  • 52 shower gel bottles
  • 52 takeaway boxes/cutlery
  • 26 washing up gloves

Amounting to approximately 7,000 single-use items per consumer, per year, this staggering figure equates to almost five billion items being disposed of as domestic waste.

Despite 85% saying they are trying to live more eco-consciously, 44% of those polled admitted to being ‘addicted’ to certain single-use items because of convenience, while 25% said they are swayed by ‘the lower cost compared to reusable alternatives’.

The more encouraging figure of 53% who claim to ‘try their level best to avoid buying single-use items’ is counteracted by the 63% who admit to having binned recyclable items rather than going through proper channels to dispose of them.

Of the parents polled, 57% confessed that having a new baby threw them off-course and their ‘green intentions’ fell by the wayside. This translated as 25% stopping recycling after becoming parents; 26% deviating off their plan to use reusable nappies (64% consider disposable nappies an essential ‘baby bag’ item when out and about); and 29% resorting to single-use wipes to keep their babies clean (71% of new parents wouldn’t leave home without this convenience item).

But the data also indicates this single-use behaviour is weighing on the conscience of the majority of Brits: 84% said if they had the opportunity to buy easy-to-use eco nappies and wipes they would take it; 83% have expressed feelings of ‘guilt’ over accidentally or deliberately throwing non-biodegradable wipes down the toilet; and 40% of respondents have been ‘ticked off’ at their partners for purchasing single-use items.

The study was conducted by Perspectus Global, using a sample of 1,500 British residents.