Get tough approach on plastics welcomed

28 June 2021

Water New Zealand says it welcomes the Government’s tougher approach to plastics in the environment.

"It’s been estimated that pipe blockages caused by flushing wet wipes cost New Zealand ratepayers at least $16-million a year in unblocking pipes," says Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe.

She says this doesn’t take into account the pollution caused by sewage overflowing into our environment because of those blockages.

"We have been very concerned about the damaging impact of plastic in our waterways including sewage overflows caused by pipe blockages when wipes are disposed of inappropriately.

"Of particular focus is the impact of woven plastic into products such as wet wipes, tissues, and paper towels in order to make them stronger. This has obvious downstream environmental consequences, particularly when they are flushed.

"Manufacturers are developing a new range of innovative solutions which we hope will soon be scaled up to replace the addition of plastics and microplastics into everyday products.

"While we have been working on the development of flushable standards, we would also be very keen to work with the Government on an action plan to find solutions for these products."

Wet wipes