It has recently been proposed that household wet wipes could potentially be banned in the UK as a result of the severe harm and damage they cause to our environment and drainage systems.
Reducing the number of wet wipes that get flushed will have far-reaching environmental benefits. Due to wet wipes being extremely absorbent and durable which means that they don’t get broken down by water. Therefore, wet wipes, which are mainly made of polyester and microfibres, remain strong and get flushed into our rivers and oceans which can kill fish and other marine life.
Across the UK there has been a large increase in the number of fatbergs in our sewage systems which lead to lots of expensive damage to the main sewage systems. If a wet wipe doesn’t make it out of the sewage systems, it will inevitably stay inside and eventually build up with other flushed items and excrement. Over time these insoluble items will congeal with fats and oils to create ‘fatbergs’ which can block entire sewers.
One of the world’s largest fatbergs has recently been discovered under a London street in Whitechapel. The fatberg, which was longer than two football pitchers and weighed more than 11 double-decker buses (130 tonnes), was recently discovered. This enormous build-up of wet wipes, nappies and fats caused extreme disruption to local residents and forced an extremely hefty drain clearance bill on the local authorities.
Wet wipes are extremely damaging to our local environment, infrastructure and community. If homeowners across Yorkshire and the UK continue to flush them, this will lead to further damage and pollution.
At Alternative Drainage, we see first-hand the damage that flushing items such as wet wipes and nappies can have on local drains and sewers. We therefore support and encourage the nationwide campaign of ‘bin it, don’t block it’.