Wipes Packaging Prominently Displaying the "Do Not Flush" Symbol Means those Wipes Should be Disposed of in the Trash and Never the Toilet
SEATTLE, Oct. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The Responsible Flushing Alliance (RFA), a non-profit association dedicated to providing consumers with educational materials about what should and should not be flushed, released its first in a series of "Most Wanted" items that shouldn't be flushed.
Baby wipes, cleaning wipes, and makeup removal wipes are at the top of the list of wipes that should not be flushed as they are not designed to easily break down in water. Other culprits include medications, period products, paper towels, dental floss, as well as fats, oils, and grease (FOG).
"The aim of the RFA is to educate consumers to identify the "Do Not Flush" symbol on the front of wipes packaging to determine proper disposal practices," said Lara Wyss, president of the Responsible Flushing Alliance. "It's important to remember that just because an item can physically clear the toilet does not mean that it should be flushed."
According to "The Cost of Wipes on America's Clean Water Utilities" report from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), an estimated $441 million a year in additional operating costs were incurred by U.S. clean water utilities. In addition to expensive cleanup, flushing wipes and other non-flushable items can cause a negative impact on the environment. The U.S. EPA estimates that up to 75,000 sewer overflow incidents occur every year, dumping 850 billion gallons of raw sewage.
The RFA "Most Wanted" poster features caricatures of what's clogging our nation's sewage infrastructure:
- The Clog Monster: He is the mastermind behind fatbergs…those large cement-like clogs that can cause millions of dollars in damages to municipal wastewater systems. When non-flushable wipes mix with other items not meant for flushing or the drain (i.e., period products, diapers, paper towels, cotton swabs, rags, trash, etc.) and then congeal with fats, oils, and grease to clog up the works.
- General Cleaning Wipe: Handy for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces but because cleaning wipes are made with long, often synthetic fibers, they are meant for the trash and not the toilet.
- Toilet Cleaning Trickster: Cleaning the toilet is never fun but disposable products at least make it easier. Be sure to check the package for proper disposal, though.
- Dusting Wipe Delinquent: With seasonal allergies lasting longer, using dusting wipes helps keep homes clean and dust free. Toss in the trash after use.
- Medical Mobster: The FDA recommends looking for drug take back locations as the best way to safely dispose of most types of unused or expired drugs.
- Dental Flosser: Critical for proper dental hygiene but since dental floss doesn't break down in water, it can clog pipes and sewers by wrapping around pumps.
This year, California, Washington, Oregon, and Illinois enacted laws requiring the "Do Not Flush" symbol to be prominently displayed on the front of packaging of disposable wet wipes not intended for flushing. The labeling of non-flushable wipes that are primarily used in a bathroom setting makes it easier for consumers to know how to appropriately dispose of the product.
All Wipes are Not Created Equally
"It's worth recognizing what kind of wipes are causing clogs, including non-flushable baby wipes and cleaning wipes versus flushable toilet wipes," Wyss said. "Non-flushable wipes have the "Do Not Flush" symbol on packaging as those types of wipes are made with long, often synthetic fibers that are meant to be durable. Flushable wipes, in contrast, are made of short, all-natural fibers that are made to disperse in water, similar to toilet paper."
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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 not designed to be flushed. For more information, visit https://flushsmart.org or on Facebook and Twitter.
Lara Wyss, Responsible Flushing Alliance, 206-487-4570, [email protected]
SOURCE Responsible Flushing Alliance