H2bid Blog

The War on Flushable Wipes

Wet wipes are marketed as flushable, but are they really?

As it turns out, no! Despite marketing that says otherwise, so-called “septic-safe” wipes are in fact the source of serious clogs and sewer backups due to how long they take to break down.

Unlike tissue which dissolves in water, wipes do not disintegrate. While they may flush down the drain, they often don’t complete the trip through the sewage pipes. Even worse, when wipes do evacuate the pipes, they often accumulate in sewage pumps as “fatbergs”- huge chunks of solid waste – which cause costly damage to septic tanks and sewer overflows.

On a yearly basis, utility companies around the world are faced with inordinate amounts of these monstrous clogs as wipes compile with other improperly disposed items like cooking grease, paper towels, tampons and dental floss.

The IWSFG (International Water Services Flushability Group) estimates that the use of flushable wipes has resulted in $500 million to $1 Billion in additional costs, due to the extra time and manpower required to repair the damage.

Understandably, environmentalists like the Mobile Baykeeper group and city utility operators are crying out to the public about this issue. Some states have passed laws that require manufacturers to have a “Do Not Flush” label printed on their disposable wipes.

Can disposable wipes be used at all? Yes – as long as you don’t flush them!

To avoid expensive repairs in the home, wipes are best disposed of in a trash bin. As they do not fully disintegrate and are therefore not recyclable. It’s also best to avoid putting them in a recycling bin. Conscientious action will help homeowners avoid needless plumbing costs and contribute to the betterment of the environment.