“Looking at the data, we see a clear disconnect between perception and reality,” said RFA President Lara Wyss. “Consumers are largely aware of the ‘Do Not Flush symbol’ (75% somewhat or very familiar), but 60% of respondents still claim they flushed something non-flushable in the past year."
SEATTLE (PRWEB) April 05, 2023
Today, the Responsible Flushing Alliance (RFA) released insights and an infographic from a survey of California consumers measuring general awareness of the “Do Not Flush” symbol. It also measured Californians’ understanding of what common household products are not flushable.
The survey concluded that while 90% of respondents indicated they are at least somewhat knowledgeable about what can be flushed safely, a notable portion of consumers still falsely believe it is safe to flush baby wipes (26% of respondents), disinfecting wipes (17%), and makeup wipes (18%).
“When you look at the data, we see there is a clear disconnect between perception and reality,” said RFA President Lara Wyss. “Consumers are largely aware of the ‘Do Not Flush symbol’ (75% somewhat or very familiar) and can even recall where they’ve seen it (44%), but 60% of respondents still claim they flushed something non-flushable in the past year. When the wrong things are flushed, it can cause massive problems in the form of clogs and fatbergs in California communities and home pipes.”
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) estimates that flushing wet wipes not designed to be flushable resulted in about $47 million a year for California in additional operating costs for the state. On the municipal level, the average utility pays about $100,000 a year in additional collection system operating costs due to the issues caused by inappropriately flushed wet wipes.
On a positive note, the survey found a growing awareness of the “Do Not Flush” symbol and receptivity among consumers for education campaigns revolving around protecting the environment, maintaining home health, and preventing costly home and infrastructure damage. This is a 6-point increase (from 69% to 75%) in awareness from the baseline survey conducted in the Fall of 2021.
“We know consumer education works; we’ve seen that in our 2022 pilot campaign,” Wyss said. “It’s just a matter of connecting with the audience on the issue in a way that hits close to home, making sure we’re getting the message out to as many people as we can.”
The survey collected nearly 1,500 responses from a large sample set of California residents representing a wide range of demographics including ethnicity, geolocation, age, and more. Completing a series of questions, respondents provided insight into their awareness level of the proper labeling of wet wipes law (AB 818) signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, requiring the “Do Not Flush symbol” to be displayed on non-flushable wipes packaging.
RFA is relaunching its consumer awareness campaign in Spring 2023 to continue promoting the “Do Not Flush” symbol to a wider Californian audience.
If your organization is interested in helping RFA spread its consumer education to more consumers, please visit our website at flushsmartcalifornia.org or find us @FlushSmart on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
About Responsible Flushing Alliance
The Responsible Flushing Alliance (RFA) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization dedicated to consumer education focused on what not to flush. RFA’s goal is to change consumer behavior to help reduce damage to our nation’s sewage systems caused by objects and materials designed not to be flushed.
Responsible Flushing Alliance Coalition Members
3M, ANDRITZ Group – Nonwoven Division, California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA), The Center for Baby & Adult Hygiene Products (BAHP), Clorox, Dukal, LLC., DUDE Products, Ecolab, Eleeo Wipes, Essity, First Quality, GOJO, Goodwipes, Johnson & Johnson, H20 Global News, Kelheim Fibres GmbH, Kimberly-Clark, National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC), National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), Nehemiah Manufacturing, Nice-Pak and PDI, Papel Aralar S.A., Procter & Gamble, Reckitt, Rockline Industries, Sellars Nonwovens, Spartan Chemical, Suominen Corporation, Toilet Board Coalition, Unilever, WaterWipes.
Survey Methodology & Approach
Fieldwork was conducted in with adult (18+) residents of the state of California. Quotas were created to ensure the mix of respondents by geography, gender, ethnicity and other demographics were representative of the state of California and reflective of census data. The research was conducted using an online survey panel, took an average of 7 minutes to complete and included 28 questions. The survey received 1,417 responses. Fieldwork for the survey began on November 1st and lasted until November 20th, 2022.
With a probabilistic sample, a total of 1,417 responses at the 95% confidence level offers a 2.6% margin of error. The margin of error can be used as a guideline to understand the reliability of these results.