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Posts Tagged ‘wet wipes’

King County No Flush

On September 9th, Dr. Oz featured the truth about “flushable” wipes on his program.

Dr. Oz – Wipes Part 1

Dr. Oz – Wipes Part 2

Some of you will recall my post on this topic from last year, Those Wascally Wipes, in which I discussed how most wipes don’t break apart like toilet paper does. This is why wastewater treatment agencies across the globe are telling people that only the three Ps should go down the toilet– pee, poop, and (toilet) paper.

Two days prior to Dr. Oz’s show, Bloomberg featured an excellent piece on this topic called Flush-Defying Wipes Bedevil Cities as Sewers Surrender by Henry Goldman. It begins:

The ancient Greeks used clay and stone; the Romans, sponges and salt water. Americans made do with rags, newspapers or mail-order catalogs until 1890 when the Scott brothers popularized toilet paper on a roll.

Only in the past decade have grownups seized upon moist “flushable” wipes similar to those that clean baby bottoms, a product that has become a prized asset in a flat market. Accelerating sales are demonstrated inside the world’s sewers, where tons clog equipment. From New York to London, the hygiene fad costs governments millions of dollars a year.

Since visiting a sewer treatment plant in this episode, Dr. Oz now recommends moistening toilet paper rather than using wipes to clean up after doing your business. Even so, there’s a statement and links to videos from one of the major wipes manufacturers, Kimberly-Clark, on his website. While Kimberly-Clark says that only some of their wipes are flushable, unfortunately people who’ve seen Dr. Oz’s show are trumpeting online, “don’t flush wipes– except for Kimberly-Clark’s.”

The wise thing to do is not flush any wipes at all whether or not they claim to be flushable on the package. They’re not going to break apart as well as toilet paper regardless of the brand. Many contain plastic. They might be flushable in the sense that they make it past your toilet, but then they can clog up pipes and the treatment plant. To protect our aging infrastructure and the environment, we shouldn’t flush wipes. Wipes can and have contributed to major sewer overflows– and all that unsanitary waste and garbage can go right into storm drains and then straight to ponds, streams, and lakes.

Besides the resources mentioned in my other post, JWC Environmental tracks some of the damage wipes do on their No More Wipes page. It’s worth a look.

The bottom line is that if you choose to use wipes, please make the simple decision not to flush them. They can go into the garbage just like everything else that doesn’t belong in the toilet. If we can’t stop putting things into our sewer system and septic tanks that don’t belong, we’ll soon need little WALL-E robots to follow us around and clean up after us. Then WALL-Es might evolve into Cylons and as Cylons they’ll invent Skynet… flushing wipes just doesn’t lead to a good outcome any way you look at it.

I, for one, will feel very stupid if, a thousand years from now, archaeologists find that our society perished in a catastrophic sewer overflow triggered by our swanky hygiene habits. Yeah. D’oh.

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If you are in a spaceship that is traveling at the speed of light, and you turn on the headlights, does anything happen? –Steven Wright

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©2014 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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From United Utilities, UK

From United Utilities, UK

This is a song that every toddler should learn along with Twinkle Twinkle, The Wheels on the Bus, and Mah Na Mah Na:

Our infrastructure might depend on it. (more…)

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