Disposable wipes are growing in popularity – and wreaking havoc on sewer systems.
Many consumers use disposable wipes because they're convenient for cleaning and disinfecting. Even people who would not normally embrace disposable products because of concern for overburdened landfills are using wipes that are being marketed as "flushable." They don't toss them in the trash; they flush them down the toilet, believing they've done the right thing.
"Flushable" Wipes Should NOT be Flushed
The "flushable" label simply means they will go down your toilet when flushed. What you should be concerned about is what can happen next.
Unlike toilet paper, disposable wipes (even those labeled "flushable") do not quickly disintegrate in water. Consumer Reports tested several brands of wipes labeled "flushable" and found that while toilet paper disintegrated after about eight seconds, the wipes still hadn't broken down after 30 minutes.
These products stay largely intact as they travel through sewer pipes and can easily get caught on roots or other debris, increasing the risk of clogs and sewage overflows.
As disposable wipes grow in popularity, sewer agencies are being forced to commit additional resources to removing mounds of wipes clogging up public sewer lines, pumps, and treatment facilities.
Disposable wipes are an even greater threat to your home's sewer pipe, which is much smaller and more easily clogged.
In addition to potentially causing clogs and overflows, many of the cleaning and disinfecting wipes contain chemicals that are difficult for sewer treatment plants to remove, and they can thus pollute local waters.
If you use disposable cleaning/disinfecting wipes, moist towelettes, baby wipes, personal hygiene wipes or similar disposable or "flushable" products, put them in the trash, never in your toilet.
Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down your toilet.
Consumer Reports Wipes Report
Consumer Reports Video Many so-called "flushable" wipes can cause big problems. View this Consumer Reports video report.
Dr. Oz show features Flushable Wipes
Dr. Oz discusses the problems with flushable wipes on his September 9, 2014 show. Click below for links to the segments:
Your Toilet is Not a Trashcan
Whatever ends up in your toilet has the potential to damage plumbing, your local wastewater treatment plant, and the environment. Even items labeled "flushable" should not be flushed, because they are not biodegradable. Please share the following poster with your family, roommates, homeowners' association, and neighbors.