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South West Water calls for end to misleading labelling on wet wipes

26th October 2016

image depicting Love Your Loo

Manufacturers and retailers could be required to put a 'do not flush' label on products such as wet wipes if a national campaign supported by South West Water is successful.

UK water companies, including South West Water, have written to Trading Standards over misleading marketing and packaging of wipes and other sanitary products that claims these items are 'flushable'.

These so-called 'flushable' products cause misery to thousands of households across the South West by blocking sewers and contributing to flooded homes and gardens.  They have other negative impacts too, such as releasing plastics into the environment.

South West Water's Love Your Loo campaignencourages everyone only to flush the 3Ps - pee, paper and poo. As part of the campaign, the company has been working with the rest of the water industry to encourage manufacturers and retailers to label their products responsibly.

Andrew Roantree, Director of Waste Water Services, explained: "Across the region South West Water spends more than £4.5million clearing over 8,500 blockages each year caused by baby wipes, hygiene wipes, moist toilet tissues, cleaning wipes, cleansing pads and sanitary products, none of which break down in the same way that toilet paper does. 

"Our research shows that people are confused about what can and can't be flushed, often because the packaging is misleading. Many products say they are flushable and biodegradable - but they build up in pipes and cause blockages.  We'd like to see 'do not flush' and 'bin it' labelling on such products.

Water UK, the body that represents all water companies, are writing today to Trading Standards asking them to investigate and put an end to misleading claims on packaging."

A global statement has been signed by more than 247 companies in 18 countries to date, outlining the water industry's current position regarding flushable labelled products.

The international statement (http://bit.ly/InternationalFlushabilityStatement) recommends that consumers must be given clear and unambiguous information about appropriate disposal methods of products.

Published: 26 October 2016

For further information please contact:

Press Office
South West Water