“Fine To Flush” Standard For Wet Wipes Has Been Developed

No doubt you all know what a fatberg is by now – huge solid masses that find themselves blocking our sewers, mainly caused by a build-up of wet wipes, grease, oils and fats. And no doubt you’re aware of the issues that these fatbergs can cause… predominately blockages and sewage overflows.


But now to help tackle this problem head on, a new standard for wet wipes has been developed to help consumers know which products have plastic in them and which haven’t, so they know which ones are fine to flush.


Manufacturers will be able to put an official water industry Fine to Flush symbol on packaging if scientific tests are passed successfully. Although there has been a rise in the number of products available that come labelled with Do Not Flush, there are many out there that are marketed as being flushable, yet they don’t break down quickly when they’re in the sewer system… so as such, would fail the required tests.


There are around 300,000 sewer blockages each and every year, which costs the UK £100 million to sort out. Properties can suffer sewer flooding as a result, leaving home and businessowners alike in serious misery and facing massive clean-up bills and higher insurance costs.


Michael Roberts, Water UK chief executive, commented, saying: “This is an important step in the battle against blockages. We’ve all seen the impact of fatbergs recently, and we want to see fewer of them. Improving the environment is at the core of what the water industry does, and the new Fine to Flush standard that we’ve created will make it easier for consumers to buy an environmentally friendly product instead of one which clogs up drains and sewers.”


Late last year, a BBC Radio 4 Costing The Earth investigation found that wet wipes being sold as flushable are in fact responsible for 93 per cent of blockages in sewers here in the UK.


The radio show claimed that all wet wipes being sold as flushable have failed industry tests with regards to being sent down the loo – but manufacturers said at the time that their products have indeed been tested properly and the reason for the blockages is down to the fact that people are sending non-flushable wipes down the toilet.


More aggressive tests being carried out by wet wipe manufacturers mean that the wipes break up more quickly, which is why they’re passing the tests, the Daily Telegraph reports.


Businesses can make a difference to the wet wipe fatberg problem by banning use of the products on site, or by making sure that they only provide products that are flushable and come bearing the new standard. Your employees are sure to be happy knowing that you’re doing your bit for the environment – as are your clients!


Want to find out more about commercial water services? Give us a call at H2O Building Services today.