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Wipes - biodegradable vs flushable

(16 Posts)
BirdyBedtime Wed 01-Jul-09 12:54:10

I've used various types of flushable wipes in the past few years as I am a cloth nappy user and it is much easier to just throw everything down the toilet. With DD I used to use Little Green Earthlets own brand but I don't really like the ones they stock now. Have also tried ones from PHP but found they were very wet. I am currently using Beaming Baby ones that I buy from a local shop - problem is I continually baulk at paying £2.99 for a pack of wipes. I was in John Lewis yesterday and they had wipes (baby addled brain can't remember the name) at £2.35 labelled 100% biodegradable, also Asda Eco Baby wipes are labelled with this and these are considerably cheaper - neither say they are flushable though and I don't want to risk it. Does anyone know whether wipes that are 100% biodegradable are OK to flush or do they have to say flushable on the pack? Hope someone out there can help.

swampster Wed 01-Jul-09 13:03:45

How about using washable wipes? They are lovely and practical - just bung them in the machine with your nappies. I like the ones that are towelling or cotton velour one side and fleece the other. I find them more effective than throwaway ones.

ilovemydogandmrobama Wed 01-Jul-09 13:10:51

Biodegradable doesn't mean flushable. Even on the flushable ones, there is a disclaimer shock and can assure you that some older plumbing systems can't cope with it.

Swampter's idea is brilliant. Washable wipes.

purplesal Wed 01-Jul-09 14:00:46

My DH used on work in the Sewerage Dept of Thames Water and the water comapnies really hate all the flushable wipes and flushable nappy liners. Basically these things don't stay in the sewerage system long enough to start breaking down so they end up at the sewage treatment works intact (assuming they haven't got caught on a node or a tree root on the way to build up a massive blackage at some point). Each day a huge scooper thing comes and scoops out everything from the treatment works that is not going to break down - so basically all the wipes and liners and cotton buds - and they get scooped up and taken to landfill.So it is actually much better if you bag it and bin it as they end up in landfill anyway.

We used washable wipes on DD2 and DH worked out that we had saved £250 just by not using baby wipes

wastingmyeducation Wed 01-Jul-09 14:04:07

Flannels. Wet under the tap, into the bucket with the nappy.

Octothechildherder Wed 01-Jul-09 15:09:17

washable wipes definitely

BlueChampagne Wed 01-Jul-09 16:39:51

So-called "disposable" wipes go through the wash in our house. Just don't spin them too hard.

BirdyBedtime Wed 01-Jul-09 20:00:30

Hmmm. Definitely food for thought - I'd never thought of these things in the same way as cotton buds which I'd never consider flushing, although I had noticed that any stray wipes that make it into the washing machine come out strangely intact which does go against the likelihood of them breaking up in the sewerage system!

feralgirl Thu 02-Jul-09 22:15:06

I use microfibre cloths (3 for £1 at Tescos and they also double as liners)and a spray made from chamomile tea, a smidge of olive oil and a tiny drop of lavender oil.

I find it much easier; keeping one hand on DS while I use the other to juggle a pooey liner or wipe into the loo is not easy! This way everything just sweeps into the bucket and into the wash together. I also found that even eco-friendly wipes gave DS nappy rash and there's been not a trace since I stopped.

ches Fri 03-Jul-09 03:29:23

<civil engineer hat on> They do break up in the sewerage system. There are lots of bends and pumps and amazing things between your house and the treatment plant. They don't break up in your house pipes, though, which is where they can cause a blockage.

purplesal Fri 03-Jul-09 07:13:30

Ches - my DH is adamant that they won't break up in the sewerage system. From our house to the sewerage treatment works is a distance of about 3 miles (the average for any household is between 5 and 10 miles) and aparently it only takes 17 minutes for anything that I flush to get there (sorry severe geeky symbol needed). As these wipes will go through a washing machine cycle of 45 minutes (?) plus they definitely won't break down between house and sewage treatment works. And if there is anything that is stuck at all on the route then wipes just catch on it as they flow past causing a much bigger blockage. (POssible disclaimer - all the figures that my DH quotes relate to Thames Water's area - maybe other water companies are different)

DrJen Fri 03-Jul-09 18:19:49

My dad is a plumber and he's lost count of the number of families he's rescued due to blocked toilets as a result of liners/wipes/sanitary products!
We use washable wipes in our house with DS, mainly because he gets bad rash with virtually every brand of disposible wipe on the market. The only ones he doesn't react to are clearly herbal ones, which I use when out.

ches Sat 04-Jul-09 05:45:03

The first part of a sewerage treatment plant is a screen which removes plastic bags and the like, then is the settling tank where cigarette butts, tampons and the like settle out before continuing through the treatment process. Stuff removed by screens/settling gets incinerated. Does it really matter if they break up or not? But regardless, a sewerage pump is a totally different kettle of fish to a washing machine, and the gravity system is not very nice, either. A 2yo in South Africa once fell into an open manhole and had to be identified by dental records.

Tambajam Sat 04-Jul-09 06:58:42

Nooooo. 'Flushable wipes' Don't do it. Even the flushable ones can easily can get lodged and tangled. I paid a bill to a drains company of almost £800 to suck out a LOT of wipes from under my house (kandoo ones).

wiggletastic Sat 04-Jul-09 10:54:19

We have moved onto washable wipes too and only use 'disposable' when out and I always bin rather than flush. Washable wipes are so easy as you are washing them along with the nappies. I just dampen mine with water and they don't cause any rash. I keep them in the nice plastic pampers wipes box that came in my hospital bounty pack. Well, its got to be useful for something. grin

mumblecrumble Sat 04-Jul-09 21:44:10

Feral Girl..... a spray you say? Do you spray the wipe then use it? Could you just tell me how you make that? We are using a little pail of water and its doing our heads in as dd can reach itnow..

[contemplates spray..]

Reusuables. I cut up a few prepregnancy (I'll never fit into them again...sob....but they can still be useful..] nighties and soft t shirts. They wash a treat and take up no space at all.

They are also soooooooo soft and make good hankies......

We used water but now I want a spray.... We have all our changing stuff on a little shelf pposite where we change dd.

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