This reusable tissue cleaner concept offers a solution to wet wipe contamination

This reusable tissue cleaner concept offers a solution to wet wipe contamination

Since viruses and harmful microorganisms have been known to stick to certain surfaces for long periods of time, some people have made a habit of wiping down tables, shelves, doorknobs, and even chairs before using them. While this is definitely a commendable hygiene practice, the use of products like baby wipes has also increased. Contrary to popular misconceptions, these are not simply “wet handkerchiefs” as real tissue paper tears easily when wet. Unfortunately, the synthetic materials in wet wipes make them long-term environmental hazards, essentially on the same level as plastics. Instead of discouraging a good habit, this concept attacks the problem from a different angle by providing wet wipes that can be cleaned and reused instead of thrown away all the time.

Designer: Yeonju Lee

Despite their appearance as thick handkerchiefs or thin pieces of cloth soaked in disinfectant such as alcohol, most wet wipes are made in part from polyester or polypropylene fibers, sometimes interwoven with organic fibers such as cotton or pulp. wood. This means that these wipes don’t actually break down when you flush them down the toilet, and definitely not after they’ve made their way into sewers or other places you might not want to imagine. It can take hundreds of years for them to break down, while they do pose a problem not unlike typical plastics.

The problem is that, like regular plastic, wet wipes are convenient. Its little packets can be easily slipped into bags and are like a cross between tissue paper and cloth. A cleaning cloth, of course, would be cheaper and more environmentally friendly, but the task of washing and disinfecting after each use is too expensive for many people. What if we could automate that last bit in much the same way that we automate washing our own clothes? Re:clean is a concept that proposes exactly that, turning single-use wet wipes into reusable wet wipes.

Re:clean is practically a household appliance that cleans, disinfects, wets and dispenses these wet tissues that curiously come in the shape of a circle with a hole in the middle, much like a CD. Used parts are loaded into a spindle from the top, while clean wet tissues are collected in portable storage boxes that you simply take out and put in a bag, ready to use at a moment’s notice. The machine has controls that allow the user to select the amount of water content that the tissues will contain or the number of tissues that will be dispensed per box.

It is definitely a creative way to solve the problem of wet wipes contamination, although some may have doubts about reusing such materials over and over again. Then again, it’s really no different from washing rags, towels, or chamois, except that it’s all automated and regulated. Ideally, the wipes themselves can also be made from more sustainable materials, but even if they had the same composition as baby wipes, delaying their arrival in landfills and oceans can still have a positive impact on the environment.

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