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‘Fine to Flush’ standard celebrates 100th accreditation

  • Five of the eight major UK supermarkets now stock ‘Fine to Flush’ products with 100 products and manufacturers now certified
  • Water companies spend £100 million every year clearing more than 300,000 fatbergs
  • Wet wipes without the ‘Fine to Flush’ accreditation can take up to 100 years to decompose

Consumers now have more choice of truly flushable wet wipes than ever before as ‘Fine to Flush’ celebrates its 100th accreditation.

Five of the eight biggest UK supermarkets now stock products carrying the ‘Fine to Flush’ label, meaning they have undergone rigorous testing to show they break down in UK sewers and don’t contain plastic – helping to prevent fatbergs and protect the environment. Major supermarkets Tesco and Aldi have recently gone a step further and even banned the sale of wet wipes containing plastic, paving the way for other supermarkets to follow suit. Water UK is calling on the public to only flush wipes with our ‘Fine to Flush’ logo.

Consumers are increasingly aware of the harm caused by wet wipes, with Water UK polling showing that more than half (56%) of the public are aware that flushing wet wipes and other unflushable items can lead to fatbergs and river/sea pollution.[1]

The 100th accreditation was achieved by John Dale Ltd, a large-scale UK manufacturer of hygiene products for its Little Hero Toilet Training wipes. John Dale joins the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Aldi, Morrisons, and market leaders Andrex, in allowing their customers to flush with confidence!

To gain Fine to Flush accreditation, wet wipes undergo rigorous testing to ensure they will break down when flushed. The standard was launched by 2019 in Water UK and has grown rapidly with just five products gaining accreditation in its first year. Fatbergs – mainly caused by a build-up of wet wipes, fats, oils and grease into a solid mass – have been increasing in frequency in recent years. Numerous products claim to be ‘flushable’ but do not disintegrate when flushed into the sewer system. This causes sewer blockages and damages the environment.

11 billion wet wipes are used every year in the UK, and evidence suggests that they account for over 90% of material in sewer blockages.[2] Water companies spend around £100million every year clearing more than 300,000 of these blockages.

Christine McGourty, Water UK Chief Executive said

“We’re thrilled with the success of our Fine to Flush accreditation, which we launched so consumers could have the choice of more environmentally friendly products.

“It’s great to see that so many companies are joining us in our mission to end the harm that unflushable wet wipes can cause. We’re calling on all manufacturers to follow suit and seek Fine to Flush accreditation for their wipes, to help protect our sewers and environment for generations to come.”

Michael Buckley, John Dale Business Director, part of Accrol Group said:

“As a major wet wipes manufacturer, we’re incredibly proud that one of our products, Little Heroes Toilet Training wipes, is the 100th to receive the Fine to Flush accreditation.

As an accreditation that’s created and regulated by water industry experts, it gives manufacturers and brands greater confidence to clearly label products. In turn, this gives consumers complete reassurance that they’re doing the right thing by the environment.”

  • ENDS –

For more information contact Isabella Wilson on iwilson@water.org.uk or +44 (0) 7342 882946

[1] Statistics from an online survey of 2019 UK adults carried out by ComRes Savanta on behalf of Water UK between 26 and 28 November 2021, weighted to be nationally representative.

Notes to Editors

[2] Water UK’s Wipes in Sewers Blockage Study 2017

About Fine to Flush

Fine to Flush – a major development in the fight against fatbergs – is the official standard identifying which wet wipes can be flushed down toilets safely.

Although there has been an increase in products being labelled ‘Do Not Flush’, there are many wipes on the market labelled ‘Flushable’ which do not break down quickly when they enter the sewer system, and which would not pass the stringent tests which meet the standard to receive the ‘Fine to Flush’ symbol. The labelling of these products can cause confusion amongst consumers, increasing the likelihood of sewer blockages.

The technical name for ‘Fine to Flush’ is Water Industry Specification (WIS) 4-02-06, and the full details of the specification are in the guidance section on this website.

Manufacturers can have their wipes tested by WRc, the Swindon-based independent technical experts who developed the specifications for flushability standards in conjunction with Water UK. If they pass the tests, the wipes manufacturers will receive the ‘Fine to Flush’ symbol from WRc on behalf of Water UK.

Manufacturers and product developers can contact WRc for further information and to discuss the most appropriate approaches to testing products: https://www.wrcplc.co.uk/fine-to-flush

For the list of accreditations, click here