The first wipes to meet a newly introduced National Standard for flushable products have hit supermarket shelves. As Urban Utilities conducts world-leading flushability testing at its Innovation Centre in Brisbane, more flushable wipes are coming.
Urban Utilities is one of three companies globally carrying out the testing that gives products the right to display a new logo. The logo indicates they can be safely flushed down the loo.
Urban Utilities’ Head of Environmental Solutions, Col Hester, said it recently finished testing a brand of wipes that met the rigorous new flushability criteria.
“There are seven tests. They include having to travel through a replica household drain line and urban pump station and a slosh box test. That’s where wet wipes are placed in tubs that rock back and forth. It’s to see how effectively they break down,” he said. “If a product passes all tests, its company can make a flushability claim for the product to display a flushable logo. We recommend shoppers look out for the logo. They can be confident the product will break down after it has been flushed.”
Hester said the world-leading standard for flushable products was established last year.
“This was an important step. We know wet wipes can cause costly blockages in the wastewater network and people’s household pipes. This can lead to unexpected and often hefty plumbing bills,” he said. “We already have another nine products to test in the coming months. It’s great that businesses are trying to do the right thing.”
Urban Utilities supporting flushable products
Urban Utilities spokesperson Emily Arnold said Urban Utilities removed around 120 tonnes of wipes from its wastewater network every year.
“Flushed wet wipes, tissues or other products can also combine with fats, oils and greases in the network. They can create huge ‘fatbergs’ that need to be removed,” she said. “We craned a record-breaking 500kg, six-metre-long fatberg out of the sewer network in suburban Brisbane full of wet wipes which had been flushed.”
Shoppers are urged to avoid flushing products that claim to be ‘flushable’ but don’t carry a flushable logo referencing AS/NZS 5328.
“Unless the products feature the new flushable logo, we encourage everyone to stick to flushing the 3Ps – pee, poo and paper,” Arnold said.
“It will help save you a potentially costly plumbing bill while protecting the environment.”
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