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MNHQ here: what do you think about manufacturers marketing wipes as 'flushable'?

(390 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-May-16 12:00:20


We've been contacted by a major utilities company asking Mumsnet to throw its weight behind a campaign it's running on the marketing of 'flushable' wet wipes and 'moist' <sorry> toilet tissue.

The organisation that's contacted us says that 80% of all sewer blockages are the result of sewer misuse, and that 70% of these blockages are the result of wet wipes. They want manufacturers to stop being able to label wipes as being 'flushable'.

They are going to write to the Advertising Standards Authority complaining that consumers are being misled by the packaging and claims on many of these products. They say consumers are encouraged to believe that these products break down harmlessly when flushed - whereas in truth, they don't break down after flushing and can end up causing blocks, leaks and flooding.

We know from previous conversations about tampons and sanpro that MNers tend to be stalwart defenders of the public sewage system, so we said we'd ask you whether this was a campaign you'd like us to swing behind.

As ever, it would be great to hear what you think.


Samcro Tue 24-May-16 12:02:18

good idea s if its misleading it should be stopped.
(but please don't use Sampro I hate that whats wrong with the full words)

stealthsquiggle Tue 24-May-16 12:03:19

Yes, "flushable" annoys me, and it's nothing to do with the public sewage system. Anyone who considers such things to be flushable in my house can unblock the sodding septic tank themselves instead of me making DH do it.

curren Tue 24-May-16 12:04:00

If it's misleading it should be stopped. However I am not really sure where the link to mumsnet or parenting is.

Are these products aimed at parents?

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Tue 24-May-16 12:05:19

Why does it need a campaign? Surely it's for ASA to deal with?

GoringBit Tue 24-May-16 12:08:37

Hello Stealth, we have a septic tank, and I've always assumed that the odd wipe (one a week, if that) wouldn't cause a problem. Am I horribly mistaken?

Apologies for the minor derail.

WotNoLoobrush Tue 24-May-16 12:08:54

I'm surprised these products still have 'flushable' written on them.

RustyBear Tue 24-May-16 12:13:17

curren - I assume flushable baby wipes are aimed at parents...

growingbytheday Tue 24-May-16 12:14:39

Advertising by these companies is misleading at best and at worst seriously irresponsible. Would there be a case for suing the companies for costs in the event of a blockage needing intervention by a plumber? That might make them re-think their products.

NotCitrus Tue 24-May-16 12:14:50

I would love a campaign against them being flushed - I think we can assume that parents are the main users of baby wipes! Many parents flush the odd baby wipe thinking it must be OK in moderation as they are like other wipes sold as flushable, and also most users of moist toilet paper are small children so it'll be parents buying it.

Requiring packaging to make clear that nothing other than toilet paper should be flushed would be great - London's sewers are dealing with many more people's output than 100 years ago so need to be able to break it down.

Levithecat Tue 24-May-16 12:19:08

I would definitely like MN to support this.

curren Tue 24-May-16 12:20:42

curren - I assume flushable baby wipes are aimed at parents...

the Op never mentions baby wipes. They mention wet wipes and moist toilet tissue. I don't know any parent that uses these. Most use actual baby wipes. Which don't say flushable on.

That's why I asked. My mum always has wet wipes with her and lovely moist toilet wipes. Both me and dbro are over 30. grinI carry baby wipes for my kids.

Oldraver Tue 24-May-16 12:21:22

Yes very very misleading and allows people who are challenged to bleat....well the packaging says so. People are coming round to not flushing Tampons etc even though the packaging says not too.

I have had blocked drains spilling out onto my path and had 'the look' from the guy clearing 'wipes' blocking my sewer. They had caught around where mine joins the main sewer and sewage backed up.

I am a cloth baby wipes/Mooncup/washable Sanitary pad user, so was not amused.

Manufacturers should be made to have to go into sewers where all these wipes are causing havoc

BlackeyedSusan Tue 24-May-16 12:23:24

what do I think about them being flushable? a lie. I think the water company who deal with the bloody things know whether they are flushable or not, just because they disappear round the bend does not make them flushable. mind you someone in the block of flats opposite thought a chicken carcass was flushable. and ex thought baby wipes were flushable... until I made him put his hand down the toilet and pick them out because as sure as hell he would not be the one dealing with the overflow of shit if he caused a blockage.

BlackeyedSusan Tue 24-May-16 12:26:26

chicken carcass caused sewage to flow out of the flat belows toilet/bath into the flat below that.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-May-16 12:30:32


The utility company putting this together came to Mumsnet because they'd spotted that MNers tend to be very hot on this issue. So it seems to be that, rather than the connection between parents and baby wipes in particular.

Andbabymakesthree Tue 24-May-16 12:31:26

Disposable nappy liners too....

EveryoneElsie Tue 24-May-16 12:31:56

I think the utility companies want to let people know these items are not flushable, and Mumsnet is a good medium for that kind of information dispersal.
I dont see anything wrong with backing this kind of campaign.

araiba Tue 24-May-16 12:32:05

anything is flushable if you have a big enough flush

but if i saw it on a packet of wet wipes i would infer that it meant they were biodegradable

i've seen a septic tank clocked by just normal toilet paper, not anything i would advise anyone to get involved in

Abraid2 Tue 24-May-16 12:32:14

It really annoys me, as does the marketing of flushable dogpoo bags, when water company websites say not to flush them.

And tampons...

mmchocolate Tue 24-May-16 12:32:38

As someone that has had to clear a septic/insection tank out plenty of times I wholeheartedly support this campaign and wish it would be extended to all things that people think are flushable.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 24-May-16 12:32:54

I think those producing the wipes must be in cahoots with Dynorod or someone because there is nothing to suggest they break down immediately after flushing like loo paper does.

What really pisses me off is that the chances are it won't be the person causing the problem who has to deal with backed up toilets and sewage everywhere. It'll be some poor mug further down or everyone on the shared drain.

I back the campaign. I think if you want to feel like your bum has been licked by kittens or whatever your reasoning then you put your shitty wipe in the bin.

It doesn't even make sense for baby wipes to be flushable. You can't flush a nappy so stick it in the bag with that and put it in the bin.

Can I suggest as well as complaining to the ASA they do a rival campaign to educate those too delicate to use and dispose of their dirty wipes? Slogan: Don't make your shit my problem.

LegoCaltrops Tue 24-May-16 12:34:25

If they aren't fully flushable, they shouldn't say so. I was surprised that potty training wipes specify on the pack, only to use one per flush. So not really flushable, then.

They either need to stop selling them, mark clearly on the packs that they are not flushable, or develop some that are properly flushable.

I'm suck of seeing used pads, wipes etc on the pavement after every rainstorm - I live at the bottom of a long hill with a lot of houses on, & the drain covers pop up every time. It's disgusting.

RhinestoneCowgirl Tue 24-May-16 12:34:54

I'd definitely be behind this. I live at the end of a terrace of three houses. We had raw sewage backing up in our back garden because one of our neighbours at the other end of the terrace had been using cleaning wipes and flushing them angry.

On another occasion it was what the drain unblocker chap delicately referred to as 'lady's things'. Having been a moon cup user for years I knew it wasn't me!

Bringmewineandcake Tue 24-May-16 12:36:49

I agree that something needs doing about it. I have occasionally bought flushable wipes but they're not really, are they? Otherwise you'd be able to flush more than 1 at a time. Also, working in insurance I've seen the effect of people clogging up their drains (with stuff that's clearly not flushable anyway) so anything that reinforces the message about only flushing toilet roll is worth making a point on.

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