Anglian Water is today welcoming the news that Kimberly-Clark’s Andrex® Washlets have been awarded the industry flushability standard Fine to Flush.
Following years of campaigning by the water industry to highlight the devastating impact items being wrongly flushed down the drain has on the wider environment, wet wipe manufacturer Kimberly-Clark has created a new wet wipe which truly breaks down, does not contain plastic and passes safely through the sewer system when it is flushed away. The accreditation applies across the full Andrex® Washlets range from Spring this year.
Rachel Dyson, Anglian Water’s Keep It Clear programme manager, said: “It is great to see a major manufacturer like Kimberly-Clark has recognised the need to change their flushable marketed wet wipes in order for them to meet the Fine to Flush standard. We hope it is only a matter of time until other retailers and manufacturers will want the Fine to Flush logo seal of approval too, to show customers they are doing the right thing for the environment.
“Baby wipes and other non-flushable wipes are the main cause of sewer blockages. We need to remind customers to only flush if they see the ‘Fine to Flush’ UK water industry approved logo on the packet, and if it’s not there, wipes and other products should be binned and not flushed. We would also encourage customers to use reusable wipes and sanitary products whenever possible to reduce the impact of these single use products on the environment.”
Anglian dealt with over 40,575 blockages in the year 2018/19 of which 80% were caused by unflushables such as wet wipes, sanitary products, other plastic items and fats, oils and grease. Most of these blockages are entirely preventable, but instead can lead to devastating sewage spills, harm the environment and cost the water company more than £19million each year to clear.
In the UK alone, water companies estimate it costs around £100million a year to unblock sewers clogged up by wipes and hygiene products.
Anglian Water has been running a Keep It Clear programme since 2011 in 24 locations across the East of England; this targets hotspot blockage areas and highlights the issues caused by flushing items down the toilet which don’t break down in the sewers. Anglian Water has seen a 32% reduction in blockages caused by unflushables in targeted Keep It Clear areas compared to a 7% reduction in other locations across the region.
Rachel added: “This is just one area where Anglian and other water companies have been working tirelessly for almost a decade to educate and change consumer behaviour for the greater benefit of the environment. This is a real milestone in that journey.”
Manufacturers can have their wipes tested by WRc, the Swindon-based independent technical experts who developed the specifications for flushability standards in conjunction with Water UK. If they pass the tests, manufacturers will receive the ‘Fine to Flush’ symbol from WRc to add to their packaging.
The technical name for ‘Fine to Flush’ is Water Industry Specification 4-02-06, and the full details of the specification can be found on the Water UK website.