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Your toilet is not a rubbish bin - think before you flush

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Cleaner Seas, Water
An unpolluted healthy river
An unpolluted healthy river

We work hard at the Environment Agency to keep water clean for people to enjoy and rivers healthy for wildlife to thrive. Did you know there are simple things you can do too?

Water UK has announced today that wet wipes are the biggest cause of sewer blockages: new proof that flushing wet wipes causes sewer blockages.

They have found that wipes make up more than 90% of the material causing sewers to block. When blockages happen, the contents of drains and toilets can end up in rivers and on beaches. That‘s very unpleasant and it causes pollution that kills fish and other wildlife – derailing years of improvements by local people, the Environment Agency and water companies. It also costs a lot of money - £100 million a year to clear blockages.

That’s why we’re supporting the water sector in their work to raise awareness of this issue and to urge people, manufacturers and retailers not to flush wet wipes and to label them as not flushable.

Flushing a wet wipe isn’t disposing of it. It’s environmental littering.

Sewage blockages can cause pollution and surface water flooding. Blockages in your pipes can also cost you to repair blocked pipes.

So please be aware that wet wipes aren’t flushable and spread the word to protect the environment.

You could share this blog or any of the good advice here:

Thames Water: Bin it - don’t block it

Anglian Water: Unflushables VIDEO

Water UK: What not to flush

At the Environment Agency we have been working with the water sector and a range of organisations including Keep Britain Tidy, Marine Conservation Society, Surfers Against Sewage and Visit England to give advice about keeping beaches clean and on what you shouldn’t put down toilets or drains. You can find out more and join the conversation using the hashtag #BinIt4Beaches

Pollution including ‘unflushables’ on a beach
Pollution including ‘unflushables’ on a beach

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  1. Comment by Paul posted on

    I agree, its mainly everyone that does it. It is just common sense to put it the bin also disposing pads and wipes is against the law as they are breaking 3 laws which are all related to the water and environment. There are some chemicals that are hazardous to health too that should be flushed away with cold water . 1 The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
    2 The Water Industries Act 1991
    3 The Environmental Protection Act 1990 all protecting the environment however people are still flushing away pads in the toilet even though they have the sanitary bins provided.
    It is the foreign people that are making a mess too and they do not recycle. They are a hazard to the environment and need to respect other peoples country and follow the living style.
    I have seen a massive land fill in India which was mounted up with litter mainly plastic and it was a disgusting scenario.
    People just find it hard to respect nature, follow rules and be civilised. All my luck to the environment.

  2. Comment by Kim posted on

    I work in health care, we use wipes daily for personal care and pay for the appropriate bins and disposal, I do hope this will not affect the industry as wipes are an effective and dignified way of undertaking personal care tasks. Other means are more hazardous to health, this needs consideration.

    Wishing the government would stop focusing on issues that shouldn't be an issue if people were educated about the environment. Yes some people are either lazy or ignorant fix that issue, fine lazy people at home who flush.

  3. Comment by Jeff James posted on

    Most wet wipes are made up of 80% polyester (plastic), however it is possible to produce without any problem 100% cotton so fully biodegradable wet wipes. Why is this not being pushed? Because they are a little more expensive of course but can we put a price on such things? I should add they are still not flushable but at least they do biodegrade.

  4. Comment by Brian Sutherland posted on

    I know that this may sound a bit on the sensible side, but in stead of baning the wet wipe why not make the manufactures produce a wipe does actualy desolve in water,as just saying ban it why not change it. I seem to get feeling that if we are not carefull we will be living in a world with nothing to use (a pencil is a sharp object quick ban it, knives can be sharp ban them ). When will you realise that baning is not the answer, try the question,what is the most dangerous thing in your kitchen.


    a cut from a sharp knife will result with a nick in your finger

    due to the amount of [resure you put on a blunt knife to make it cut it will go straight down to the bone

    answer sharp knife cut = sticky plaster,,,,,,blunt knife cut= stiches in the finger, banning the sharp knife is not the answer just as banning the wet wipe not the answer,,make the wet wipe from a different material that will truely desolve in water.

  5. Comment by Rachel B posted on

    I use wet wipes daily for various things and never dispose of them down the toilet because a) I'm already aware they should not be flushed down the toilet, b) I care about the environment and c) there is a "DO NOT FLUSH" warning on the back of the packet. So people are either not reading the labels or they just simply cant be bothered to put them in the bin! Maybe one solution is to print the "DO NOT FLUSH" label on the FRONT of the packet instead of the back, stating that it is harmful to the environment if they are flushed down the loo!


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