Nobody wants a blocked drain. They’re incredibly annoying to sort out and it can take weeks for the problem to be resolved… but what if we told you that chances are your drain is blocked because of what you’re doing at home? We don’t like to point fingers but a lot of the time drains become blocked because something has been flushed down the toilet when it shouldn’t have been.

Wet wipes are one of the biggest culprits in this regard, but you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s not necessarily your fault. Why wouldn’t you think that you could send them down the drain? After all, the packaging even says that they’re flushable, doesn’t it? What a shock that they’re constantly being sent down the loo.

However, water companies in the UK and around the world have now signed a global statement in a bid to outline the industry’s position regarding products such as these. The statement recommends that customers should be given clear and unambiguous advice and information about how best to chuck these products away. Even though the packaging does say wet wipes are flushable, it’s important to realise that in actual fact they’re not – and that they contribute to blocked sewers and flooded homes each and every year here in the UK.

“There are strong views from customers and water companies that manufacturers need to take action to stop calling wet wipes flushable and help prevent sewer flooding. The financial and emotional cost of a sewer flood in your home is awful and surely it is worth taking every step possible to prevent this happening,” director of environment at Water UK Sarah Kukherjee said.

Water UK itself has also written to Trading Standards calling for the packaging on wet wipes to be changed, since people believe they are able to flush them without having a negative impact on them or the environment. The call has now been made for these products and similar ones to be prominently marked with Do Not Flush instructions, with people told to bin them instead.

Stats from the company indicate that in the UK water suppliers spend around £88 million of customer funds clearing 360,000 blockages every year that crop up in the sewerage networks. And what’s more, it’s thought that about half of these are actually avoidable and are down to incorrect disposal of hygiene products like wet wipes being sent down the toilet.

“This substantial cost of removing blockages does not take into account the increased maintenance costs of mechanical equipment at sewage treatment works or the damage and distress that is caused by the flooding of homes and pollution incidents; the effects on the sewage treatment process, or the huge tonnage of waste screenings which have to be disposed of to landfill as a result,” the letter went on to say.

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