The UK government has called on manufacturers of wet wipes across the country to address the rising concerns over the ‘flushable’ labelling on various wet wipes.
UK environmental secretary Thérèse Coffey has written a letter to domestic wet wipes producers outlining the government’s various associated concerns.
One of the major concerns is the increasing number of wet wipes, estimated at approximately two to three billion annually, which are flushed down toilets by consumers.
The letter has urged the manufacturers to ‘reconsider’ the use of the word ‘flushable’ on the packaging of its wet wipes that is seen as the root cause of the issue.
The government claims that the use of the words ‘flushable’ or ‘fine to flush’ may motivate consumers to flush their used wipes in toilets instead of disposing of them properly via dedicated bins.
Avoiding the use of such words is further expected to help minimise sewer blockage and water pollution issues across the country.
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UK water minister Rebecca Pow said: “It is vital that producers are more transparent with their guidance on flushability, as ultimately wet wipes that are dumped down the toilet can cause damage to our environment and water quality.
“This is alongside the wider action we’re taking on water quality, including tougher enforcement for water companies, more investment and tighter regulation to stop pollution happening in the first place.”
The government has now asked the country’s wet wipes producers to prepare a viable and actionable plan to address such concerns.
The latest move comes as the government works to accelerate its efforts to manage harmful plastic in the environment and clean up the country’s waterways. The initiative is also in line with the government’s ‘Plan for Water’ effort.
The plan is committed to a public consultation that aims to propose a ban on all wet wipes containing plastics.
The proposal was a result of public pressure from retail giants to tackle the issue, including Boots and supermarket Tesco.