Should we be blaming: Our wastewater treatment facilities? Wipe manufacturers? Reckless consumers? Our government? There are compelling arguments against all these groups. Still, there is one group seldom mentioned, yet it has earned the lion’s share of the blame.
Before we provide answers, please understand the failing of our infrastructures is a complex subject with many causes. However, most find common ground on these four issues:
- Freshwater and wastewater channels are at heightened risk for ruptures and other system failures.
- Market demand for disposable wipe products will continue to rise.
- Consumer education could play a major role in minimizing infrastructure failures.
- Our shared waterway infrastructure has been underfunded for decades. It is estimated to cost the U.S. taxpayer more than $300 billion to update around 800,000 miles of pipes, canals and treatment plants which are nearing the end of their projected lifespan.
If a lot more isn’t done to solve our deteriorating infrastructure problems now, we will feel the serious repercussion’s including: unmanageable contamination of our waterways, compromised food sources, escalating medical costs, and a hampered economy.
However, none of the groups mentioned so far have as much power to influence change as the one group we have not yet mentioned. So, who is this group? Answer: the largest group of all -the Human Group. This is a human made problem, only humans can clean it up, and we have the technology to do it, so what are we waiting for?
Starting at home, we must stop using toilets like trash cans and become better stewards of our municipal waterways. These problems are real and cannot be ignored.
- The out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality – “If it doesn’t clog my pipes then it is not my problem.”
- The ignorance – “Not my fault, it is someone else’s responsibility to take care of this.” And…
- The finger-pointing – “The government isn’t putting enough tax dollars aside to make upgrades” and, “Wipe makers only care about profits”.
These approaches have never solved our problems, so let’s try something new…accountability!
Responsible Wipe Disposal is on the Rise:
On the macro-level (macro = national scale), an expert team of non-profit organizations from the wastewater and from the nonwovens (wipes) industries* have been collaborating on “flushability” issues since 2008. These agencies collaborate specifically to target methods that can reduce the stresses placed on our municipal waterway infrastructure by proposing improvements in product labeling, the development “flushability” guidance documents, and by educating consumers about the more than 55 different types of wipe products found in today’s marketplace.
Although independent “flushable” testing is still voluntary for wipe maker’s, these collective agencies strengthen flushable guideline testing protocols with each new revision.
Please remember: Manufacturers who make flushable wipe claims should have independent scientific data to back those claims. This 3rd Party disclosure should be stated on their packaging.
Wipe makers that irresponsibly put “flushable” wipe products into the marketplace without being independently certified invite costly failures inside our pipes, waterway systems and our environment.
What We Are Doing:
Tidymates® is doing its part to be part of the solution:
- We lead by example and subject all of our flushable wipe products to be independently tested and validated in scope by an International Organization of Standardization (I.S.O.) 17025 accredited lab, so our flushability claims are legit. Greater than that, Tidymates® flushable wipes test results are Top-rated. This means we are leading the flushable wipe market with flushable wipes that are Best-in-Class. See the proof, click here
- Our unique packaging distinguishes truly flushable wipes from ALL of the other wipe products that are not/not-as “flushable”, so you can’t go wrong.
- We are also working hard to contribute more on the macro level to help out with the upgrading of our underfunded waterways. Once more details are available, we will update you on this, and let you know how you can help, too.
- Tidymates® has put together an informative list of wipe products that should NEVER be flushed EVER -even if it says so on the packaging. CLICK HERE to get a copy of the FREE list.
The purpose of this 3 Part article is to help us better appreciate the complexity and neglect that has been rife in our wastewater systems. Finally, we are seeing initiatives that offer hope in turning a corner in improving our waterways. But, much more still needs to be done.
Finger pointing is not our objective, education is. The problems we face affect us all. No community is spared, even if on a septic system. Changing our habits at home is critical if we want to have clean water and avoid bio-hazardous water spills for the next 100 years. Knowing what we can and cannot flush is the first step.
We hope to have empowered you to make more informed decisions and to become a more responsible wipe user. Please share this information with others and encourage them to become more responsible stewards of our environment.
Side note: We will follow-up with a progress report on this matter in mid-2017, when more independent updates are expected to be completed.
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*Namely, the International Nonwovens and Disposables Association (INDA), the European Disposables and Nonwovens Association (EDANA), the America Public Works Association (APWA), the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA), and the Water Environment Federation (WEF).