Something smells rotten in the United States, and it isn’t the toilets. Flushable wipes, which have now become a lucrative industry, have been causing a major public relations chaotic mess.
According to one group of attorneys, the flushable wipes are causing a wide range of problems such as septic system problems, sewer backups, machinery failures and even burst pipes.
Many class action lawsuits have been brought against companies like Procter and Gamble, Tufco and Rockline Industries by consumers for false advertising. According to the lawsuit claims, moist towelettes advertised by these companies to be flushable are actually clogging pipes all over the United States, causing toilet repair and drain cleaning bills to skyrocket.
The disposable wipes industry started with baby wipes. Typically, these were used, then thrown into a diaper pail, where they were properly disposed of in the trash.
However, as the environmental movement kicked into full gear, two problems emerged:
Lack of landfill space – As waste begins to pile up in local landfills, we are running out of space to put all of it. Much of the waste people throw away can also be recycled, which would drastically reduce the amount of waste in these landfills.
Not every adult keeps a diaper pail in the bathroom – You won’t find a diaper pail in every home, particularly if there’s no need for one, whether because the baby has already grown up or because there’s no baby in the home.
Furthermore, most people prefer to keep used wipes out of sight so the toilet becomes the most logical place to dispose of the wipes. (After all, nobody likes to look at used wipes in the trash can.)
The versatility of baby wipes prompted a huge demand for adult wipes. In order to deal with the aforementioned problems and the growing demand for adult wipes, companies created flushable wipes. These new wipes sold like hotcakes because they were more convenient to use and easier to dispose of, and as a result, the flushable wipe industry now boasts over $6 billion in profits nationwide, according to a report from the New York Times.
However, there is a rather dark truth behind the new wipes. They were much more durable than toilet paper, which meant they took much longer to dissolve in water.
Considering that even toilet paper can cause a nasty clog in your toilet if you flush enough of it down the drain (and toilet paper is made to degrade quickly), these moist towelettes are causing bigger problems which often spill over throughout the city in the form of damaged equipment at the wastewater treatment plants. It is estimated that the problem has cost the city of New York alone several million dollars in equipment damages.
Because the towelettes are made to be so durable, it would take far fewer towelettes to cause a major problem that would require extensive repairs.
Continuing to flush the toilet while it’s clogged can make the problem continually worse as additional material such as grease, congealed cooking oil, toilet paper or even solid waste begins to cling to the clog. Before long people were spending money on expensive drain cleaning or possibly toilet repair.
The problem became so bad that some states, including New York, took various steps to require more concise labeling and advertising, and spread public awareness for the damage these wipes were causing.
However, the industry has made repeated statements denying any wrongdoing. Dave Rousse, president of the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, a trade group that represents wipes manufacturers, contends that much of the trouble has been caused by non-flushable wipes that have been disposed of improperly and that consumers are not reading the labels properly.
Procter and Gamble issued a statement saying their wipes are compatible with municipal wastewater pumps.
James Caccia Plumbing Inc. strongly suggests that you avoid flushing anything down the toilet, with the exception of toilet paper, even if it’s marked as flushable. Flushing anything else down the toilet runs the risk of causing serious damage to your plumbing and/or septic system. It just isn’t worth the risk of causing expensive problems.
If you encounter any of the aforementioned problems, it is important that you contact James Caccia Plumbing Inc. in San Mateo, CA at(650) 376-6800 before your problem becomes worse.
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