The Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) and the Municipal Enforcement Sewer Use Group (MESUG) have released a call for support in their efforts to work out a definition for flushable products.
In recent years, municipalities have seen an increase in the amount of disposable wipes and other garbage in sewer systems. These objects can easily clog pumps and pipes, forcing Canadian municipalities to spend an estimated $250 million annually unplugging and clearing garbage from wastewater infrastructure.
The statement from CWWA and MESUG reads:
As the water/wastewater utilities (municipal and/or regional governments), we continue to educate our citizens on the 3Ps (pee, poo and toilet paper) and discourage the use of toilets as garbage cans for paper towels, fats/oils/grease, medications, hygiene products, etc. Meanwhile, some manufacturers are marketing wipes and other products labeled ‘flushable’ and are encouraging users to flush their products into toilets. At the same time, other products commonly used in a bathroom are being labeled bio-degradable or disposable, leading to their disposal into a toilet.
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Water and wastewater organizations that represent the water/wastewater utilities, municipal and/or regional government agree:
- Until a wastewater industry approved standard for flushablility is established, only the 3Ps should be flushed.
- All products designed to come in contact with human waste and/or related germs while in the bathroom that have a high likelihood of being flushed into a toilet (including wipes and personal hygiene products) should be clearly marked as ‘non- flushable’. Such labelling should:
- Use the words “Do Not Flush” and a clearly understood symbol.
- Be clearly visible to the consumer at point of purchase.
- Be clearly visible for user at point of dispensing.
- Include instructions for the product to be disposed of in the bin or garbage/trash.
- We do not accept INDA/EDANA’s (manufacturer trade groups) Guidance Document 3 (GD3) or any other manufacturing industry’s determination of ‘flushability’ at this time. Until there is a standard agreed upon by the wastewater utility industry, all such products should be labeled as “Do Not Flush” as laid out.
- Key requirements for a wastewater utility industry standard include that the product:
- Breaks into pieces quickly;
- Must not be buoyant;
- Does not contain plastic or regenerated cellulose and only contains materials which will readily degrade in a range of natural environments.
According to MESUG spokesperson Barry Orr, organizations and companies around the world have pledged to support the campaign to define what is flushable. To date, the statement has received 201 company and organization logos from 15 countries. To support the statement, or learn more, email Barry Orr.