UK govt urges producers to address ‘flushable’ wet wipes labeling

In an effort to combat dangerous plastics and clean up the nation’s waterways, the UK government has ordered wet wipes manufacturers to address concerns over how they label their goods. To assist minimise sewage obstructions and water pollution, environment secretary Therese Coffey has written to producers asking them to reconsider using the word “flushable” on packaging.

Wet wipes are flushed down UK toilets in the range of 2.1 to 2.9 billion times annually. 94% of sewer blockages are caused by wet wipes, which can cause property damage and cause sewage-related debris to enter the environment. According to a news release from the UK’s department for environment, food, and rural affairs, water providers are thought to spend £100 million annually on this.

Coffeyhas warned manufacturers that labelling wipes as “flushable” or “fine to flush” could persuade users to flush the wipes down the toilet rather than properly discarding them in the trash. Producers of wet wipes have been urged to specify how they would solve these issues.

The UK and 52 other members of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) to End Plastic Pollution signed a comprehensive joint ministerial statement this week at a summit in Paris. The statement calls for a number of mandatory provisions to be included in the global plastic pollution treaty, which is currently being negotiated.

Pow stated: “Producers must be more forthcoming with their advice on flushability because, in the end, moist wipes that are flushed down theWater quality and the ecosystem can be harmed by toilets.

This is in addition to the broader measures we’re implementing to improve water quality, such as stricter enforcement for water corporations, increased investment, and tighter regulation to prevent contamination in the first place.

This move complies with the government’s Plan for Water obligations to write to manufacturers and advertising authorities regarding the use of the word “flushable” on wet wipes packaging. In response to public calls to address the issue of plastic in the UK’s waterways and building on recent action from major retailers including Boots and Tesco, The Plan for Water also committed to a public consultation on the idea to prohibit wet wipes containing plastic. The government will collaborate with business to ensure that plastic-free alternativesPublic access is always possible.

The UK government has come a long way in the fight against plastic waste that can be avoided. This started in 2018, when one of the strictest bans on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products was made public. 2020 saw the implementation of limits on the sale of cotton buds, drink stirrers, and single-use plastic straws. The implementation of the Plastic Packaging Tax in April 2022 was a further stage. On plastic packaging produced in the UK or imported into the country that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, a levy of £200 per tonne was levied. In addition, the government decided to raise the minimum fee to £1 after the single-use carrier bag charge’s significant success. 10p in May 2021. This increase was also extended to all retailers, resulting in billions of bags being removed from circulation.


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