I’m sure we’ve all seen that the impact of “flushable” wipes on our environment and pockets has been more prevalent in the news more often lately.
And for good reason!
The truth is, none of these are actually “flushable” under water industry disintegration regulations. Even those that may say so, are still contributing to 1% of the hundreds of thousand of blockages which drainage companies like Metro Rod Deeside and your water board have to deal with. These wipes are still found blocking up your drains on a daily basis! The rule of thumb that seems to be followed is that while, yes, these wipes do “flush”, as in they disappear from your toilet bowl, they don’t necessarily break down in your sewer and drainage systems. Above all, the manufacturer guideline to using these wipes is to use ONE wipe and flush ONE wipe at a time. Obviously, These guidelines aren’t followed very thoroughly.
Furthermore, some wipes are starting to be made from biodegradable plant based materials. Although, even these can still take months to break down properly. The majority of wipes found on the market nowadays are in fact made from plastic resins such as polyester, polyethylene and polypropylene. These ingredients are the main issue. These are the ones which won’t break down in your drainage network.
So, what happens to the wipes?
When wipes get tangled together in your drains they form a large mass of wipes that’s known to us in the drainage industry as ‘Rag’. This is made even worse by build up of fat, oil and grease in your drains that is poured down sinks in households across the UK. Take a look at just how big these rags can get!
So, we decided to get technical with this and see exactly what the specifications are that deem these wipes to be flushable. According to water industry disintegration regulations, to be “flushable” a single wipe must;
1. NOT be constructed from Nonwoven sheets.
2. NOT be marketed as “Baby Wipes”.
3. Be designed for use in a bathroom/toileting purpose.
4. Be designed to flush.
5. Pass appropriate flush assessments.
The IDNA and EDANA set out his criteria in order to keep our wastewater channels and environment safe and running freely. A lot of wipes on the market do not meet this criteria above, thus they should not be marketed as “flushable” toilet wipes.
So, we here at Metro Rod Deeside decided to try our own little experiment! We’ve taken 3 brands of wipes from popular supermarkets;
We’ve put them in water at 13° Celsius, this is a similar temperature to the water that flushes in your toilet. Obviously, this can fluctuate with ground temperature and other factors but we’ve chosen to go with this temperature for this experiment.
We’re keeping each wipe in a glass jar, on the same shelf in our office here at Deeside. This shelf does not get sunlight at any point of the day so they should all stay relatively the same temperature (providing we don’t have a cold snap and need to put the heating on in the office!)
Furthermore, we’re going to check back in 1 month and see how much these have broken down or dissolved, if at all! Also, we’ll be placing a single sheet of toilet paper in a glass jar too just to show you how quickly that will break down in comparison too.
Finally, we’ll be doing regular weekly updates too so keep an eye on our social media pages! (Links at the bottom of this article)
Are you in need of a reliable and efficient drainage or plumbing solution? Metro Rod Deeside can help you and your businesses or homes with our drainage and plumbing services! Check out our contact details below!
Call us on; 0808 250 9915
Visit our websites; North Wales Area
Email Us; [email protected]
Or connect with Eleri, our Marketing Manager on LinkedIn too!
Metro Rod Deeside operate 24/7 and calls will always be answered directly by an experienced on call manager who can start diagnosing any drainage problems. Our on call manager will also assign you to an engineer who can be on site within a matter of hours. We operate throughout North Wales, including Anglesey, Chester and Wirral areas. We’re able to deal with problems such as;
- Blocked drains (internal or external)
- Sink, urinal and mainline drain blockages
- CCTV surveys of drainage systems
- Tanker Services
- Graffiti Removal
- Robotic Cutting
- Drain repairs – no dig or excavations
- Preventative maintenance