Manufacturers are developing ever more innovative brands of toilet paper, biodegradable sanitary towels and wipes. These are frequently disposed of down the toilet and into the sewerage system. Water companies have practical concerns about the suitability of disposing of many of these so-called 'flushable products' into public and private drainage and sewerage networks rather than as municipal solid waste.
The emerging issue of microplastics contained in some of these ‘flushable’ labelled products has added an additional concern for the water industry. These microplastics have the potential to harm marine and river wildlife as well as the possibility of entering the human food chain. Until further research is conducted into this issue, the water industry is asking manufacturers and retailers to take a precautionary principle and stop selling wipes and products as flushable until more evidence is gained.
Water companies are communicating the importance to customers of only flushing the 3 ps – pee, poo and (toilet) paper.
For more information on what not to flush, please click here.
International flushability statement
Open letter to Chartered Trading Standards Institute
Letter from 21st Century Drainage Board
Water UK policy position
Water UK/Wrc ‘SNAP’ protocol/guidelines