116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Yes, it is true that too many people are flushing disposable wipes that are not meant for the toilet. However, Brittney J. Miller’s recent article “To flush or not to flush: The items that shouldn’t be going down your toilet” wrongly suggests that flushable wipes damage our sewer systems. The real culprit are baby wipes and cleaning wipes that are now labeled with the “Do Not Flush” symbol on the front of packaging.
There is actually a huge difference between flushable and non-flushable wipes. For a wet wipe to be labeled “flushable,” it must go through a rigorous series of tests that mimic the movement of a wipe from the toilet through a wastewater facility, testing its ability to disintegrate.
Non-flushable wipes labeled with the “Do Not Flush” symbol include baby wipes, cleaning and antibacterial wipes, facial wipes, and others that are made with long, often synthetic fibers meant for durability rather than for dispersing in water. Flushable wipes, on the other hand, are made with short, natural fibers meant to quickly disintegrate, similar to toilet paper, when flushed.
According to a NACWA study, consumers flushing non-flushable wipes resulted in $441 million in unexpected repairs in the U.S. Averaged, non-flushable wipes impose $30,467 a year in costs per utility, with Iowa having 1,092 community water systems, that could mean millions of dollars.
Together, we can do our part to protect our infrastructure and waterways by being mindful of what is flushed down the toilet or poured down the drain.
President, Responsible Flushing Alliance