Tests confirm “flushable” wet wipes are not biodegradable

"At the moment there's absolutely no standard [or] agreed term on what's flushable and what disintegrates. It's just labelling."

Okay, we've gone through this a few times, but clearly there are still some people missing the message.

Wet wipes, even when they're labelled "flushable" should NOT be flushed down the toilet.

These wipes are NOT biodegradable. These wipes clog sewerage systems and are causing massive amounts of damage to habitats such as creeks and rivers.

Have a look at these gross photos of just how bad the blockages caused by wet wipes can be.

The only reason these wipes are labelled "flushable" is because if you flush your toilet, they will get carried away. Following this logic almost anything could be flushable, from plastic bags to toxic waste! (note: please don't flush plastic bags or toxic waste down your toilet).

Technically my phone is flushable, but that doesn't mean it should go down the toilet."
- Sydney Water media and communications advisor Peter Hadfield

According to Sydney Water:

  • One in four Sydney residents uses "flushable" wet wipes.
  • More than 1000 tonnes of wet wipe materials have been removed from Sydney's wastewater system in the past two years.
  • Wet wipes increase the risk of pipe blockages and overflows to local creeks and rivers.
  • About 75% of all sewer blockages involve wet wipes.

And it's not just a problem in Australia. Check out how Indestructible Wet Wipes clog New York's sewer systems.

The rise in popularity of Wet Wipes is in large part due to ease and convenience. The wipes are made usually made with a mixture of plastics and synthetics derived from crude oil. They are not biodegradable and not compostable. Every individual Wet Wipe and baby wipe will take (sometimes 100s of) years to break down.

In fact, CHOICE is so sick of these wipes that they put the wipes to the test in this awesome video:

What you can do

Your toilet is NOT a rubbish bin. Know what can and can't be put down there.

  1. Wet wipes are NOT biodegradable, even if they say "flushable" on the packet!
  2. Only flush human waste and toilet paper
  3. Never flush nappies, tissues, pads, tampons, wipes (even if they claim to be "flushable"!), cotton buds, dental floss, fats and oils, or rags.
  4. Let those around you at your home, your workplace and in your community know about the huge amount of damage that wet wipes cause to our sewerage system.
  5. You may be liable for fines or damage repair if you do not heed these warnings!

Check out our wet wipes mythbusting.

Sign the petition to see labelling laws changed

Heed CHOICE's call to action: "Tell the major manufacturers and retailers of so-called flushable wipes to clean up their act and wipe these products off the shelves."

Sign the petition here.

Make the switch to a more sustainable toilet paper.

We like Who Gives a Crap and Pure Planet- the latter of which is made with sugar cane and bamboo waste.

READ THIS NEXT: Plastic-eating worms??

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Steph Newman Former Social Media Assistant Suggest an article Send us an email

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