I was asked by United Utilities if I want to take part in their campaign Think before you flush. It doesn’t sound too glamorous, but being a home owner comes with all sort of issues. I was interested to hear more and I was surprised by what I discovered.
First of all, the “flushable” wipes are well… only flushable, it means they will not remain in the toilet bowl, but they cause problems and clog the pipes. The clogging of the pipes can happen on the property and that leads to expensive repairs or they cause problems further along the pipelines. I think the wipes are misleading, I used them in the past and, unknowingly throw them in the toilet, thinking the water will break down quickly. They don’t break down as toilet paper does and the wipes will snag on pipe joints creating blockages, as they are mixed with fats that are poured down the drain. From now I’ll use the bin for them.
Research was made in North West and the results are staggering. 1 in 10 people has suffered from blocked toilets and drains by flushing items that shouldn’t be flushed, like baby wipes and other types of wipes and sanitary products.
Other things that can clog up the pipes are things like cotton buds, cotton wool and nappies. I never throw those in toilet as it’s obvious they are clogging the pipes. On United Utilities’s website they say only 3 things should end up in the toiled, the 3 P’s: pee, poo and (toilet) paper.
To solve the issues, a plumber has to be called and the home owners ended up paying an average of £99 for the repair. It’s a lot of money and hassle for something that can be so easily prevented by using a bathroom bin. The insurance companies will not cover the costs if the problem was caused by flushing something that shouldn’t be flushed.
At the same time, water companies have to spend a huge amount of money to unblock public pipes. United Utilities has to deal with around 25,000 blockages a year, costing around £10 million.
The flushable wipes have a great impact on environment too. Marine Conservation Society have made a report that suggest there was an increase of 50% last year in the number of wet wipes washed up on the beaches.
If, like me, you had no idea what wipes (any type of wipes) are doing to our pipes, have a look on the link I posted at the beginning of the post, lots of interesting facts and details. There is a downloadable pack for parents with details about the campaign and some craft activities.
It’s so easy to avoid expensive repairs, hassle and headache these flushable wipes are causing by using a bin. From the moment I learned about this I stopped throwing away the wipes in the toilet and I used the bin. It made absolutely no difference to me.
Were you aware about this issue? Are you using flushable wipes?
Post is in collaboration with United Utilities.