59% not in support of wet wipe ban, according to survey

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21st November 2018 15:07 - Utilities

59% not in support of a wet wipe ban: Back in May, the national media was a hive of opinion following a DEFRA pledge to reduce avoidable plastic waste - which included single-use disposable wipes often used for removing make-up, domestic cleaning or cleaning up babies after a nappy change.
At the time, a UK spokesperson for DEFRA said: "As part of our 25-year environment plan, we have pledged to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, and that includes single-use products like wet wipes." 
However, a survey by Lanes Group PLC has found 59% of respondents would not be in support of a ban on disposable wipes. It also found that 31% admitted to flushing wipes down the toilet – a major contributing factor to the blockage issues costing water companies millions every year.
Water UK report that blockages in UK sewers add £100m to water bills annually - and it says wet wipes are the main problem.
When it comes to fatbergs - the giant obstructions in our sewerage systems formed when non-biodegradable products fuse with fats, oil and grease (FOG) -  the survey found 93% of the 1000 respondents polled said the public needs more education. 
The survey also revealed that almost half of those questioned (47%) admit to disposing of FOG down the kitchen sink, this is despite three quarters (75%) saying they were ‘quite aware’ or ‘very aware’ of the dangers of pouring such substances down the drain.
Of all the wipes used by people in the UK, the survey highlighted antibacterial cleaning wipes as the most frequently used, with 52% saying they formed part of their cleaning routine, followed by baby wipes (44%).  Respondents were most in support of eliminating cleaning wipes and moistened wipes sold as an alternative to toilet paper, while just 15% said they would support the Government banning baby wipes. 
'Flushable' wipes 
The BBC reported earlier this month that no wet wipes have so far passed water industry tests for disintegration - despite being marketed as 'flushable'.
While water companies blame wet wipes for expensive blockages, companies who make 'flushable' wipes insist that their tests are adequate and it is the non-flushable variety wreaking havoc in sewers. 
Michelle Ringland, Head of Marketing at Lanes for Drains, said: “Disposable wipes should never ever be flushed down the toilet, even if they say ‘flushable’ on the packaging. The vast majority of them do not biodegrade easily and are usually made from polyester, containing millions of microfibers that are impregnated with chemicals."
Since writing this insight it has been revealed (January 2109) that all wipes passing stringent industry tests will be able to display a 'fine to flush' logo (drawn up by the water industry) on product packaging. 
Michael Roberts of Water UK said: "This is an important step in the battle against blockages. We've all seen the impact of fatbergs, and we want to see fewer of them." 

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