‘Flushable Wipes’ Crisis Shifts to Down Under

Australia’s major newspaper the Daily Telegraph had an explosive story on December 7 about the wipes problems Sydney Water is tackling. Clogged pumps and systems started to surface two years ago and since then the agency has spent millions of dollars and removed 1,000 tonnes of wet wipes.

According to Sydney Water’s Chief Kevin Young:

The ageing waste water system is being choked with great mounds of disposable wet wipes as young men spurn ordinary toilet tissue, preferring a more luxurious bathroom experience. But here’s the rub. Instead of disintegrating in a flash after flushing, many hand and body wipes are made from synthetic materials which could take years to break down.

Now Sydney Water is having to spend millions of dollars on crack teams to get things moving again, a cost that will inevitably be passed on to consumers.

The story uncovers some amazing statistics including: men age 15-44 are frequent users of the wipes; they prefer wet wipes because of their texture and this gem of a stat – “laid end to end the wet wipes would stretch from Sydney to LA and back.”