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Politicians pledge to ‘Bin the Wipe’ at parliamentary event

Earlier this week (Monday 17 October) Water UK were joined by MPs and Peers in parliament for a preview of a new blockages campaign called ‘Bin The Wipe’, launching in the new year.

The event, which was hosted by Putney, Roehampton and Southfields MP Fleur Anderson, whose Private Members’ Bill is calling for plastic to be removed from wet wipes, was a chance for parliamentarians to learn about the upcoming campaign and how they can help change consumer behaviour.

Guests heard speeches from Fleur Anderson, Shadow Waste Minister Ruth Jones MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee Philp Dunne MP, Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water Heidi Mottram, as well as the Environment Minister Trudy Harrison MP.

The ‘Bin the Wipe’ campaign, supported by water companies, will encourage the public to always put wet wipes in the bin rather than flushing them down the toilet. It will be the biggest ever campaign of its kind in the UK. There are approximately 300,000 sewer blockages annually, costing the country £100 million. Over 90% of the matter in sewer blockages are wet wipes and other unflushables. These build up, usually congealing with fats, oils and grease to create fatbergs, reducing sewer capacity, and increase the risk of pollution from sewer bursts or spills from storm overflows

Christine McGourty, Water UK Chief Executive, said:

“We were delighted to be able to give MPs a sneak peak of our upcoming ‘Bin The Wipe’ campaign. It is great to have the support of Fleur Anderson who has led the way with her work to make wipes without plastic.

“Flushing wet wipes down the toilet causes huge problems in our sewers, causing homes and businesses to flood and damage our natural environment. We hope the campaign will inform the public on the damage caused by flushing wet wipes and encourage everyone to play their part and always ‘Bin the Wipe’”

Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney, Roehampton & Southfields, said:

“I have been campaigning for nearly a year now to ban wet wipes that contain plastic. This event in Parliament was about bringing together MPs, water companies and environmental groups to say enough is enough and that we demand action now.

"My legislation to ban plastic wet wipes is going through Parliament and we need all MPs need to support it. I'm also delighted that Water UK are launching a national Bin the Wipe campaign, which will raise awareness about the damage flushing wipes causes to our water systems.”

Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water, said:

“Bin the Wipe is such a simple message, and it asks for a very simple response – for people to stop using their toilet as a bin.

“By helping people to understand the problems caused by flushing wipes, and the potentially awful consequences, it really opens people’s eyes and inspires change. That’s why it works and is a big part of how we have seen massive reductions in the numbers of wipes in our network in the areas where we have taken the campaign.”