‘Flushable’ Products Protest by UK Water Companies

UK water companies have recently complained to Trading Standards regarding branding on items such as flushable wet wipes stating that they are contributing towards blockages in sewer systems. It is estimated that it costs £88 million per year to unblock sewers mainly caused by wet wipes and other hygiene products.

Those companies who acted recently have signed the international flush-ability statement which states that:
• Only the 3Ps – Pee, Poo and toilet Paper – should be flushed.
• Currently, all wipes and personal hygiene products should be clearly marked as “Do Not Flush” and be disposed of in the bin or trashcan.
• Wipes labelled “Flushable” based on passing a manufacturers’ trade association guidance document should be labelled “Do Not Flush” until there is a standard agreed by the water and wastewater industry.
• Manufacturers of wipes and personal hygiene products should give consumers clear and unambiguous information about appropriate disposal methods.
• Looking to the future, new innovations in materials might make it possible for certain products to be flushed, if they pass a technical standard which has been developed and agreed by the water and wastewater industry*. Preferably this standard would be developed under the banner of the International Standards Organisation (ISO).
• Key requirements for any standard include that the product:
a) breaks into small pieces quickly;
b) must not be buoyant;
c) does not contain plastic or regenerated cellulose and only contains materials which will readily degrade in a range of natural environments.

More information about the International Flushability Statement and the complaint to Trading Standards can be found here.

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