'Flushable Wipes' are causing £90 million of damage

29 September by Miriam Heale


Anglian Water is leading the charge to stop misleading claims appearing on product packaging as blockage clearing costs in the UK escalate.

In the UK alone, water companies estimate it costs around £90million a year to unblock sewers clogged up by wipes and hygiene products. This does not include the human and environmental impact and cost.

They have issued an international statement, calling for action from wipes manufacturers to re-label their products as ‘non-flushable’ until an international standard (ISO) has been agreed with the water industry.

The statement signed by the UK and nine other countries comes hot on the heels of the recent decision to ban the use of microbeads in cosmetics and cleaning products by 2017 due to their devastating impact on the environment.

The manufacturers of wipes used for a variety of purposes, such as cleaning and personal hygiene, claim they are “flushable” and print this clearly on product packaging.

But in reality wipes do not break down like conventional toilet paper after going down loo. As a result, flushing them is causing sewer blockages across the globe, causing misery to millions of people who’ve suffered flooding to homes and gardens and also damaging the environment.

Sarah Mukherjee, Director of Environment at Water UK, said: “There are strong views from customers and water companies around the world that it is time for the manufacturers to take action to prevent sewer flooding.

“The financial and emotional cost of a sewer flood in your home is awful and surely it is worth taking every step possible to prevent this happening.”

Find out more on the Anglian Water’s Keep It Clear programme

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