Flushable wet wipes are causing an ecological disaster and immense problems in our sewer systems, green campaigners warn. Whether they are being used to remove make-up, clean the baby or make the bath spick and span, it seems that ‘flushable’ wipes are everywhere.
The wipes -which contain synthetic fibres that do not break down in water - are blocking up sewers as they combine with fats poured down the sink.
Other plastic items that wrongly get flushed away - such as cotton buds - compound the problem. These blockages can lead to untreated sewage ending up in rivers and seas - or backing up into our homes. Many wipes - even those labelled ‘flushable’ or ‘biodegradable’ - fail to meet the water industry standard, experts said.
The Marine Conservation Society is calling on retailers and manufacturers to label their wet wipe products with the message ‘Don’t Flush’ in large letters.
Water companies estimate that the wipes contribute to around 366,000 blockages a year costing about £88 million to sort out - a cost that will eventually be passed on to customers.
In 2015, during the MCS Great British Beach Clean, volunteers found nearly 4,000 wet wipes around the UK coastline - a 30 per cent rise on the previous year and a 400 per cent rise in a decade.
In this video, BBC is also mentioning the wet wipes as we number one cause for sewer blockages. Welsh Water is using the Rioned ProfiJet to solve the problems, but of course prevention is still better than a cure!
We can all play our part to make sure wet wipes are not flushed down our toilets causing blockages, sewage spills and ending up on our long stretches of coastline.
The Christmas holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends. If that means cooking a christmas meal, chances are you’ll have fats, oils and grease left in your roasting tin or pan. If this ends up down your sink it can cause big problems. It sets hard in the pipe and mixes with other unflushables such as baby wipes and cotton buds, causing blockages.
This can not only cause problems for you at home, but clogged sewer pipes can cause untreated sewage to run into homes, gardens, streets and even end up in rivers, the sea and on beaches.
Another Rioned customer, Anglian Water is mentioning in this article that every year Anglian Water staff clear thousands of blockages from the region’s pipes. There are more than 30,000 blockages a year - 80% of which are caused by wipes and fats. This adds £15 million a year on to customers’ bills.
This can and should improve! Our suggestion: put a bin next to the toilet. Worldwide there are already several campaigns going on to prevent these sewer blockages. How would you handle this? Let us know!
A properly functioning sewer is very important for our health and for our wallets. For this reason: please do not throw any more wet wipes, frying oil, medicines or chemicals down the sink or toilet. Help the world and spread the word!