Water UK response to Defra's call for evidence on commonly littered and problematic plastic items
This is Water UK’s response to Defra’s call for evidence on commonly littered and problematic plastic items. In this, we urge the Government to go further than simply removing plastic from wet wipes, focusing instead on the overall environmental impact of these (and other) harmful products.
For example, removing plastic from wet wipes is a necessary condition of reducing harm to the environment caused by wet wipes, but it is insufficient on its own, as plastic-free wipes can still cause blockages due to other aspects of their contents. The water industry’s ‘Fine to Flush’ (WIS 4-02-06) standard is the only such accreditation which ensures no plastics are present in the product, and sufficiently mimics real-world forces present in the sewerage network that will ensure wipes disintegrate, reducing the risk of blockages.
In addition, we would encourage Defra to consider other problematic items not identified in the Call for Evidence for action (including but not limited to, sanitary products and colostomy bags).