On the 27th of February, the UK based toiletries brand Andrex announced that its range of wet wipes has obtained Water UK’s “Fine to Flush” certification. This certification implies that flushing the Andrex Washlets wont result in any harm or damage to the sewer systems they end up in. This is quite a significant claim in the world of wet wipes, although it’s not quite the first of its kind. The question now is, have Andrex reinvented the wet wipe wheel or is this yet another misleading claim?
Not the First Flush
This isn’t the first attempt by Kimberly-Clark, the American juggernauts behind Andrex, to claim that its products are safe to flush. In fact, Kimberly-Clark came under fire back in October from a range of sources. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) deemed previous advertisements by Kimberly Clark “misleading” by falsely claiming that their products are flushable and do not harm the sewers they end up in. ASA pulled the advert after Andrex admitted that they did not adhere to the UK “Fine to Flush” standards. Andrex have no overcome that hurdle with full approval.
Approval from Who?
Andrex have every right to feel justified- UK water have deemed their product safe to flush. Water UK’s chief executive Christine McGourty added: “This is a great step forward in the fight against fatbergs. In the water industry, we’re passionate about protecting the environment, and our ‘Fine to Flush’ standard is part of that, making it easier for consumers to buy something that’s environmentally friendly.
While Andrex have now hit the target, the goalposts may move again soon. Currently, EU and UK law does not require manufacturers to list the materials used in their wet wipes, but only the coating that they use. This requirement has lead to some previous confusion of wet wipes that are deemed flushable by name, but perhaps not by nature. The law is set to change in Summer 2021, where manufacturers will be required to list all of the ingredients they use and their environmental impact.
The Future of Fatbergs
Mcgourty of UK Water was quick to add- “We want other companies to follow the example of Andrex and make sure their products pass the ‘Fine to Flush’ test too. Everyone wants a future without fatbergs, and this will help make that a reality.
The truth is that we all want a future without fatbergs, but a lot has to change. There are more than 366,000 sewer blockages throughout the UK every year, of which between 50 % and 80% are caused by fats, oils and grease, wipes, sanitary waste and other unflushable items.
Changing the composition of wet wipes is a big leap forward in the war against fatbergs, but our relationship with FOG (Fat, Oils and Grease) remains crucial. By treating our sewers properly, we can work together to reduce the occurrence of fatbergs and lower plumbing bills. This is just one of many practices, including the proper disposal of commercial kitchen oils and grease, that can help keep our sewers clean and healthy. For more information and advice on how your kitchen can help make a difference, please contact us HERE.