Settling the Dispute On Flushable Wipes, Once and For All
Over the past few years, certain media outlets from the TODAY show to The Washington Post have railed against flushable wipes, blaming them for clogged sewers, flooded bathrooms, and even dirty drinking water.
The controversy has left some consumers torn: Should you submit to the brittle chafe of sandpaper squares (a.k.a. toilet paper) which are known to cause hemorrhoids and anal fissures or use a wet wipe and allegedly have to call your plumber?
As it turns out, there’s a lot more to this issue than what meets the eye. Coming up, we’ll answer the most common questions about wipes, what constitutes “flushability,” and whether you can flush them in good conscience without harm to your plumbing system or the environment. As set forth below, the evidence is that you can use DUDE Wipes without concerns.
What Makes a Wipe Flushable?
Since flushable wet wipes gained popularity among adults in the mid-2000s, flushability has been an area of focus for organizations like the Association of Nonwoven Fabric Industries, also known as INDA. For a wipe to be considered flushable under the applicable industry standard, there must be evidence indicating that it:
- Clears toilets and properly maintained sewer lines when the supplier’s recommended usage instructions are correctly followed
- Passes through properly maintained septic systems and is compatible with wastewater treatment, reuse, and disposal systems without causing system blockage, clogging, or operational problems
- Is unrecognizable in human waste leaving on-site and municipal wastewater treatment systems and undigested sludge from wastewater treatment plants that are applied to soil
Given these rigorous standards, you might wonder if the adult wipes you're using are sewer-safe.
Are All Wet Wipes Flushable?
In 2018, INDA and EDANA revised their Code of Practice to clarify which wipes were compatible with wastewater systems. We’ll go out on a limb and guess you don’t want to read the entire Code, so here are the highlights:
- Only wipes designed to come in contact with human waste and/or related germs while in the bathroom.
- Wipes marketed as “Baby Wipes” should NOT be marketed as flushable, even if they’re able to pass a flushability assessment.
- Non-flushable wipes must have the “Do Not Flush” symbol on packaging
Despite these guidelines, people still flush all sorts of stuff down their toilets (shocker.) A 2016 study of New York City’s sewer system found that flushable wipes made up only ~2% of collected material compared to other non-dispersables like surface cleaning wipes, baby wipes, condoms, and feminine products. Jacksonville, Florida was even worse, where flushable wipes accounted for less than ~1% of flushed material in wastewater treatment plants.
In some cases, bathroom wipes and other non-biodegradable solids can morph into a "fatberg," which is a rock-like mass of food solids and waste matter that clogs sewer systems.
So, is there any hope for people who want to treat their butts and plumbing systems with equal respect?
The Future of Flushability Is in a Toilet Paper Aisle Near You
Here at DUDE HQ, we understand the concern behind keeping water systems safe and clog free. So rather than throwing in the towel (or wipe, rather) we made it our mission to revolutionize the personal care industry with a wipe that’s nice to your butt, your plumbing system and the environment.
Thanks to next-level product development and rigorous testing, DUDE Wipes are flushable pursuant to the INDA GD4 guidelines. You might be wondering how they pass INDA's flush test.
DUDE Wipes are made with 99% water and plant-based fibers that are strong and absorbent during use, but begin to break down when flushed. By contrast, many baby wipes contain polyester, plastics, and other synthetic materials that can’t disintegrate in sewer systems. And since the fibers in DUDE Wipes are natural, they don’t harbor harmful chemicals, such as those that might be found with petroleum-based fibers.