Finding a Balance – Nonwovens Industry Magazine

As growth continues, wipe manufacturers will simultaneously need to meet growing consumer demand with more products while reducing the impact of this market on the environment. This will not be easy.

It looks like the growth part of this equation is being managed right now. New spunlace and wetlaid ranges are being added globally in response to increased demand for wipes, particularly in the disinfectant and flushable categories. Companies adding these new lines are eager to capitalize on the category’s double-digit growth fueled by consumers’ thirst for convenient and effective cleaning solutions.

The durable solution is a little trickier. Upcoming regulations regarding single-use plastics in the European Union and some US states and Canadian provinces, as well as changing consumer sentiment, put synthetic-based wipes in the hot seat. Already, the UK’s biggest retailer, Tesco, has pledged to ban the sale of plastic-based baby wipes and will eventually extend the ban to other categories of wipes, it says.

Many of the new ranges of nonwovens targeting wipes come equipped with the ability to handle a wide range of fibres, both synthetic and natural, but will the final substrate be strong enough to withstand the harsh disinfectant formulas needed to keep the clean surfaces?

Probably. Brands like Lysol and Clorox have already released proven herbal products, but they’re hard to find and priced a bit higher than their synthetic counterparts. So a second question emerges, are consumers willing to pay more to ditch plastic? We’ll have to see…unless manufacturers find a way to balance cost and availability with innovation.

As always, we appreciate your feedback.

Karen McIntyre

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