Fine to Flush – a major development in the fight against fatbergs – is the new 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 problem 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.
Manufacturers and product developers can contact WRc for further information and to discuss the most appropriate approaches to testing products.
The contact details at WRc are:
Tel: 01793 865048
Tel: 01793 865108
Understanding what causes sewer blockages
Wipes and other so-called disposable products are the main cause of sewer blockages and emergency call outs to sewage pumping stations. A 2011 study showed that baby wipes and other items not suitable for flushing down toilets made up a substantial proportion of blockages. With Defra and EDANA, we commissioned WRc to carry out a more detailed study.
Raising consumer awareness
We commissioned City to Sea to run a 12-month campaign to raise awareness of the consequences for the environment and for households of flushing wipes and sanitary waste down toilets.
Monitoring product labelling
Consumers can only act if they have clear information on what can and cannot be safely flushed down the toilet. With Defra, we commissioned The Water Bureau to monitor changes in the labelling of products that might be flushed, and to examine the use of plastics in these products.