Let’s Stop The Block!

My local supermarket sells “flushable” moist toilet wipes. They’re easy to use, convenient, pretty handy and I always trusted that the word flushable meant just that – you can flush them down the loo! Unfortunately, that’s a misnomer and I realize I’ve been contributing to a problem. Although they might flush down our initial household pipes, Let’s Stop The Block has shown me that they will still cause big problems in the sewer and someone has to wade in there and clean that up, before it backfires in a pretty gross way.

Bathroom Waste

10 month old boy standing over a toilet filled with toys

Wet wipes down the toilet should be as taboo as toys!

In the bathroom the only thing that should be going down the loo is toilet tissue. This is because it’s biodegradable and breaks up into tiny particles that can be processed by the waste plants. Everything else – even if it says flushable on the packet – doesn’t break down, meaning it absorbs, collects and eventually clumps together and causes blockages that someone has to go in and clean out. Combined with kitchen waste, these are called “Fatbergs”, which are as disgusting as they sound. This problem is entirely avoidable. I’m pretty sure we all have a waste bin in the bathroom and we all have a local collection by our council.

You should never flush cotton buds, cotton wool, make-up remover pads, wet wipes, dental floss, condoms, nappies, sanitary items or anything other than toilet tissue.

Like Hayley, I’m a bit of a wet wipe addict. They’re magical and they work on anything! Never mind the kids faces, you can clean the desk, the car, the sofa, the floor… The problem with them is they’re not good for the environment. Any item that is once-use and then discarded is creating unnecessary waste and wet wipes are one of the big culprits of being flushed down the loo and causing big problems later on.  Your wet wipes need to go in the bin – either household waste, or hygiene waste if your council provides it. Or if you’re up for a bit of a green challenge, switch to re-usable face clothes and wipes.

Maybe 10 months is a bit young to understand but we can make this into a game for the little ones and teach our kids from the start!

A 10 month old baby sitting on the bathroom floor in front of a silver bin, with a wet wipe in one hand.

Wet wipes go in the bin not down the loo – cotton buds and face wipes too!

Kitchen Waste

When you’ve done a yummy fry-up and have oil left in the pan, it’s tempting to just pour it down the sink but that’s seriously contributing to the problem. Fat, oil and grease down the sink gets absorbed by all the wet wipes and other debris and clumps together to contribute to the monster fatbergs that end up blocking the waterways. Yuck! It also runs the risk of damaging your kitchen pipes and turning your kitchen into a disaster zone.

The correct solution is to wipe up small excess grease with a paper towel and throw it into the bin. For larger or more liquid leftovers, let your used oils and fats cool and then pour it into a bottle to throw away or recycle if your local council offers oil recycling facilities. If you really want to be eco-friendly though, oil can be re-used – either in your kitchen or to make fat balls for the birds!

Using a funnel makes it simple to store oil for re-using or recycling!

All other food waste should go into your food waste recycling containers which the council then takes to composting which is incredibly environmentally friendly. Otherwise, we’re contributing to this disgusting problem:

A video of a “Fatberg” in Cardiff’s sewers, caused by inappropriate household waste management.

If we follow these simple rules we’ll be doing our bit for the environment, protecting our water ways and our own homes. Welsh Water deals with 2000 blockages a month, most of which are caused by every day items that people are putting down the pipes out of ignorance.

So let your friends and family know what’s up and let’s start saving our sewers one wet wipe at a time!

This post was written in collaboration with Welsh Water.

 

 

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27 thoughts on “Let’s Stop The Block!

  1. Debbie says:

    Hi Christy, that top photo of your boy playing with his toys in the loo did make me laugh. That’s one to show the girlfriend!… I don’t understand how companies can advertise items flushable when they are clearly not. It is totally misleading and is bound up sales… We don’t have a sewage system like in the UK, which is why we don’t even flush toilet paper, which in a way maybe a better system. We do keep hearing threats that a proper sewage system is in the pipeline, but I’m not so sure.

    xx

  2. Joan says:

    That’s so gross! I can’t believe people still flush stuff like that down the loo. Although I never thought about dental floss so I’m going to mention that to the husband as he uses it every night and I’ve never seen it in the bin. We had a leak outside our house last year and Welsh Water were fab about fixing it super quickly. It sucks that people have to go down in the sewers and fix stuff like that when it’s avoidable.

  3. Lucy says:

    That photo of William is so precious!! Imagine fishing all the toys out of the loo. Not gonna show that to my kids because it’ll give them ideas!!

  4. Joanna says:

    Nothing should go down the toilet except for toilet paper. I have been traveling to many countries where not even that is allowed, due to the very delicate pipes. I can’t even imagine that some people still throw wipes and other stuff down the drains….

  5. Sarah Bailey says:

    It is scary some of the things people put down the toilet, we used to live in a flat and had to call out a plumper quite a few times as the drain was blocked with such things. We only put toilet roll down ours.

  6. Hannah Denton says:

    That’s so important! I honestly wouldn’t of known that. That’s really naughty of brands adding it to the packaging as that’s such a big thing!

  7. Becky @ Educating Roversi says:

    We’ve just started teaching the boy how to wipe his own bum (the joys) and we have those toddler wipes for such things. I’d never put a wet wipe down the loo but I have been putting these down! I will stop immediately. Our en suite toilet is terrible for getting blocked as it is! #KCACOLS

  8. Kara says:

    Some great tips. I am always shocked by what some people throw down the toilet – we had blocked drains a few years ago and found out someone had been putting nappies down the toilet

  9. Elizabeth says:

    A very educational post, this! I’ve never thrown any of those items into the toilet, but I am guilty of pouring vegetable fat down the kitchen sink. I shall remedy my actions now!

  10. Baby Isabella says:

    We totally get this post as my folks have shelled out a fortune clearing drains here, as they are on the end of a plot and all the drainage runs into the manhole outside their house. Someone in our road uses wipes and they have blocked all our pipes!!! Really hope that people stop it. The worse offenders are the beauty wipes.

  11. Tracey says:

    I do love a wet wipe but never flush them, I saw recently on the news that we have the same problem with the build up of fatbergs in the London sewers 🙁 #KCACOLS

  12. Mayah Camara says:

    Fab post hun! The photo of your little boy playing with toys in the loo made me think of my brother when he was small. Why do boys do that sort of thing? lol

  13. Jess says:

    It’s so bad when you realise they aren’t actually ‘flushable’. I think they can get away with it because the word has no legal definition. I think I’m in the same boat as you though, I’m a bit of a wet wipe addict!

  14. Tracey Bowden says:

    I covered this topic too not so long ago and was shocked to learn that flushable wipes aren’t actually flushable but also the types of things people think are ok to flush down the toilet! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

  15. emma white says:

    oh yes we used these kids designed toilet wipes meant to be easier for little people to keep clean but within a few months we had to have the guys out as our drains were all blocked up

  16. Beth Owen says:

    I used to use the flushable wipes! I stopped using them a few years ago as our pipes got blocked! Very misleading aren’t they! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

  17. Fiona says:

    My local soft play has signs up all over it this week after their toilets were blocked by wipes last week. Still shocked that people just flush them especially when there is a bin next to the loo AND a sign right there! What are people thinking. They had to close for the day because of it.

    • Christy - WelshMum says:

      Oh wow, that’s really hard. People’s ignorance has led to a business losing money and mums and kids losing out on their planned playtime. That’s hard to hear. I hope more signs help, but we really need to get awareness out there!

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