We call FOG and bathroom waste such as wipes, tampons, pads, cotton buds, etc unflushables.
Even the products marked 'flushable' do not break down in the sewer like toilet paper unless the pack clearly displays a Fine to Flush symbol.
All this waste builds up over time and causes blocked sewer pipes and pumps. When these blockages happen, sewage can back up into homes or spill into local rivers causing flooding and pollution.
80% of sewer blockages are avoidable and caused by unflushables.
Every 15 minutes our teams deal with a blockage in our network, clearing around 40,000 in a year.
During heavy storm events, to prevent flooding of our homes and streets, water companies like Anglian Water are legally permitted, if appropriate, to discharge diluted sewage water into designated watercourses. When this happens, wipes and cotton buds wrongly flushed down toilets can get washed out to sea and end up on beaches.
Wipes, tampons, applicators and cotton buds should always be binned, never flushed. Even products marked ‘flushable’ don’t break down like toilet paper and can cause blockages.
What can you do?