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Campaign calls for ban on ‘misleading’ wet wipes advertising

A report has been presented to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that calls for a ban on the word ‘flushable’ on wet wipes, which do not break down like conventional toilet paper after going down the U-bend.

The complaint is being led by Wessex Water and backed by City to Sea, Surfers Against Sewage, Marine Conservation Society and Litter Free Coast and Sea.

Toilets are designed for the three Ps only: poo, pee and (toilet) paper. Wet wipes and other so-called flushable products do not break down in water the way that toilet paper does. Such waste can therefore attach to fatty build-ups in our pipes, causing blockages.

The water industry estimates that it spends around £90 million a year clearing blocked sewers, ultimately adding costs onto water bills, providing another incentive to be very careful with what we throw down the loo.

Wessex Water has released video footage of the nasty blockages encountered by a staff member in the space of just a few hours.

Matt Wheeldon, director of assets and compliance for Wessex Water, said: “We frequently hear from customers who have flushed wipes which have then caused a blockage.

“These wipes are marketed as flushable but often we find they simply don’t break down and cause blockages.”

If you are interested in learning more about what happens after you flush, take a look at the industry’s dashboard of information, Discover Water.