The sad truth is that these advertised wipes are actually anything but flushable. Yes, they go down our toilet and leave our homes sometimes without a problem to us. Yes, we don’t think about them again after we flush them. No, they are not biodegradable. These wipes don’t break down as they are sent through the sewer systems around the world.
WHY NOT TO FLUSH THEM
The package says flushable, so why not flush them? Wipes are most often times manufactured with plastic or other synthetic substances like polyester. The reason wipes are created with these materials is to ensure the wipes are durable. However plastic and polyester do not break down in water. Toilet paper or facial tissue on the other hand break down within a few seconds once they come into contact with water. This is the reason wipes are so appealing, especially for parents who are still in the diapering and potty-training stages.
A study was recently done in which waste water officials watched and tracked flushable wipes that were dyed through the sewer system to see if they did in fact break down through the process. What they found was that the wipes were still completely intact. The flushable wipes did have more rips and tears in comparison to the regular wipes that are not deemed flushable, but overall, they were still a whole wipe starting a major blockage problem.
Wastewater authorities around the world are finding clusters of wipes that are unable to break down and have gotten stuck in our waste water plants causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in work to clean up the messy wipes.
The issue with flushable wipes went global in July of 2015 when sewer officials in London removed a 15 ton “bus sized” lump of wet wipes that clogged the city’s sewer system.
Some cities, such as New York have installed basket strainers to catch the flushed wipes in hopes of avoiding more service calls to unclog city pump station. Orange County, California experienced over 950 maintenance calls last year alone costing over $300,000 to remove wipes that have clogged their city sewer system.
Our sewer systems were made with the use of only toilet paper in mind. They were not created to handle globs of wipes.
You wouldn’t flush a synthetic fabric. You wouldn’t flush a wash rag. Don’t flush wipes either. By using our waste water systems for only human waste and toilet paper we can save thousands of dollars and prevent long term damage of our water ways.
Here are some of our favorite “Don’t Flush It” campaigns, what are yours?