More evidence of "flushable"product failure

More evidence of “flushable” product failure

8 April 2019

An international study of so-called flushable products such as wet wipes has found that, despite manufacturers’ claims, virtually no products break down to an acceptable degree when flushed down toilets.

The final report of the Canadian test, Defining Flushability for Sewer Use (LINK TO REPORT) tested a range of products that can be bought in local stores or available online against recently agreed international flushability standards.

It found that not a single so-called flushable product fully disintegrated and fewer than ten percent of products partially disintegrated in the testing.

Water New Zealand Technical Manager, Noel Roberts says this result is shocking but not surprising.

He says he’s confident that if similar tests were done in New Zealand, we would find very similar results.

“The production of cleaning and personal hygiene products, such as wet wipes, has grown to a multi-billion dollar global business and is set to continue growing.

He says that unfortunately, many manufacturers are using misleading testing methods to label them as flushable.

“We also know that there are issues around labelling so many people are not aware of the damage that the flushing of wipes and other non-flushable products do to our environment and sewer pipes.

“As this latest international test has shown, only pee, poo and toilet paper pass the flushable test.

Water New Zealand’s latest performance comparison report, the National Performance Review (LINK) has found that since 2015-16 the number of sewage overflows caused by inappropriate flushing of wipes and other non-flushables in this country increased five-fold.

“This is costing New Zealand ratepayers at least $16m a year in clearing blockages as well as contaminating the environment through sewage overflows.”

“That’s why, at Water New Zealand, we are working with our Australian counterparts to come up with joint Australian-New Zealand standards similar to the International Water Services Flushability Group (IWSFG) specification that the recent Canadian test was based on.

“Once this is completed, we will be able to test products in New Zealand to ensure correct product labelling.”

“In the meantime, it’s important that consumers throw these products in bins and not downtoilets in order to avoid expensive and unnecessary costs to ratepayers and the environment.”

Wet wipes