You might think you’re making a responsible choice when you buy wipes that have the word “flushable” on the packet.
But what if you knew that they would still settle or snag in sewer pipes, causing blockages that can flood homes, the environment – even care homes or community centres – with the things that you and neighbours have flushed down the loo?
In the North East in 2019, wipes contributed to around 64% of the 15,600 blockages that Northumbrian Water had to clear from its network. That’s why the water company launched its Bin The Wipe campaign, encouraging people not to use their toilets as bins and to dispose of wipes responsibly.
Wipes are the ultimate convenience product, especially for parents or carers. Most, if not all, people use them for everything from cleaning make-up off their faces to wiping themselves on a visit to the bathroom.
So, when Northumbrian Water asks people to “Bin The Wipe”, it’s not a case of trying to stop people from using them, although the company has been showcasing more sustainable alternatives on its social media channels.
Simon Cyhanko, Head of Wastewater Networks, said: “We’re simply asking people to dispose of wipes in the bin, rather than the toilet. Doing this can be the difference between everything you flush down the loo safely flowing to our treatment works, or coming back to flood your home.
“That’s the worst thing that can happen to a customer, in relation to our network. However, this is something that can actually happen as a result of people’s behaviour. And it might not be your own home that ends up flooded. It could be a neighbour’s, a family member’s or even the environment.
“So please, whether you’re at home, in a community venue, care home, or anywhere, Bin The Wipe and help us to protect homes and the environment.”