Water industry poo-poos ‘flushable’ wet wipes
by Poppy Gaunt
What's Going On Here?
Despite many wet wipes being marketed as flushable, when tested in line with industry standards they did not break down and can therefore cause serious issues in water treatment plants and for the environment.
What Does This Mean?
One problem is that manufacturers and Water UK (the representative of water companies) disagree on how to test wet wipes for flushability. Manufacturers carry out their own tests to decide whether to label a wipe as ‘flushable’ or not - it just so happens that these tests are much more vigorous than tests done by the water industry, meaning the wipes break up much more quickly.
The Marine Conservation Society likens this to ‘a drinks manufacturer setting safe drinking limits’, and water industry experts say that the manufacturer tests don’t realistically reflect what happens in sewers.
Why Should We Care?
In the 2017 Great British Beach Clean, an average of 27 wet wipes were found per 100 meters of coastline and these washed up wipes can be mistaken for food by all sorts of animals.
If you use wipes, bin them. Or better still, stop buying them! They may be convenient for everything from removing makeup to cleaning the bathroom, but they’re essentially another form of single-use plastic that is littering the planet.
Why not give Who Gives a Crap toilet paper a go. They produce 100% Recycled toilet paper and every roll helps to bring sanitation to someone in the world without it.
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