We're calling on retailers to follow Holland & Barrett’s wet wipes ban

Holland & Barrett has become the first UK store to ban wet wipes and we're asking all other retailers to follow suit.

Every year we're called out to around 45,000 blockages with three quarters of those caused by people flushing things like wipes.

Grant Mitchell, sewer blockages lead, explains: “We want to say a huge thank you to Holland & Barrett for having the foresight to ban wet wipes, and we’re calling on other retailers to follow their lead.  We’ve all known for a long time that wipes are one of the biggest operational and environmental problems we’re dealing with.  They’re everywhere these days – baby wipes, floor wipes, face wipes – and people don’t think before dropping them into the toilet.  But the problem is that they don’t break up or dissolve like toilet paper, and so they easily get stuck in drains and sewers and cause blockages.”

The number of ‘fatbergs’, made up of fat and wipes, being reported is on the rise, not to mention the environmental damage these wipes can cause.  In our region, over 16,000 tonnes of wipes per year are sent to landfill, and this is absolutely unnecessary.

Industry body Water UK has introduced a new "fine to flush" symbol for wet wipe products that have passed testing, confirming that they do not contain plastic and classing them as moist toilet tissues that will break down in the sewer system.  Also, a lot of retailers now have more visible Do Not Flush labelling for their efforts, but more needs to be done to help encourage individuals to stop using the toilet as a bin.

Grant continues: “All of these sewer blockages are completely avoidable if everyone remembers the 3Ps rule – only ever flush pee, poo and paper down your toilet.   Wet wipes and other sanitary items should go in the bin.  And better still, avoid wet wipes altogether and use something reusable and more environmentally friendly.”