Be Informed to Keep Your Home Healthy

By RFA Staff Writer

Sept. 21, 2021

In 2020, when American consumers found themselves social distancing and short of toilet paper (“TP,” as the cool kids call it), the demand for wipes products skyrocketed by as much as 500 percent. Driven by the acceleration of the pandemic, consumers were not only eager to have clean bottoms, but to also sanitize the surfaces in their homes with the various wet wipe products available to them.

In using wipes to keep their homes healthy, consumers did a lot of things right, such as sanitizing door handles, cleaning hard surfaces and ensuring the kids (cool or not) had enough “TP” and toilet paper alternatives. But consumers often missed one key point in the responsible use of wipes products: not all of them can be flushed down the toilet.

Before we get into what to know before you flush anything, we must discuss sewer clogs. Here we introduce our enemy, the “fatberg.” Sounds gross, because it is gross.

Fatbergs are completely avoidable, but that hasn’t stopped them from jamming up municipal sewers and wastewater plants and wreaking havoc on our infrastructure for the past few decades. When items not designed to be flushed mix with grease, human waste, trash and other non-flushable materials in our aging community sewer systems, they form enormous blockages called fatbergs (insert barfing face emoji).

Fatbergs can weigh tons and grow rapidly. These masses of insoluble materials put unnecessary stress on wastewater facility pumps and pipes, and often lead to costly sewage backups, pipe ruptures and pump failures. Each of these put our environment and the health and safety of our communities at risk.

So… you’re probably asking yourself what you need to do to avoid the unnecessary repair costs and environmental damage that the dreaded fatberg causes. To keep your community healthy, start with three easy steps:

  1. Read the label. Leading wipes manufacturers clearly label each package with a “Do Not Flush” symbol. Reading the label and following disposal instructions is the most important step you can take to protect your community from disgusting fatbergs and costly home sewer repairs.

Fast Fact: Did you know the Responsible Flushing Alliance fully supports new legislation in California that mandates “Do Not Flush” labeling on non-flushable wipes alongside a consumer education campaign about responsible flushing habits? California isn’t the only state considering laws to prevent flushing items that shouldn’t be flushed. Oregon and Washington recently passed wipes labeling legislation, and many other states are considering similar proposals.

  1. Go online. If you still have questions after reading the label, confirm with the manufacturer. Visit the product manufacturer’s website or call their customer service line to confirm if the wipes you bought are safe to flush, or if they belong in the trash instead. Quick rule of thumb: when in doubt, throw it out and do not flush!
  2. Visit www.flushsmart.org. Feel free to visit and explore all the helpful information RFA has for consumers on what should and should not be flushed to maintain a happy, healthy home.

Remember, to keep your home safe and healthy, you have to be #Flushsmart.

  • Your friends at the Responsible Flushing Alliance