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