Many people today use wet wipes to remove their makeup, clean the bathroom or even as an alternative to dry toilet paper. As a result, the number of wet wipes in the sewage system is increasing dramatically, which is leading to a huge number of problems for both urban and natural environments. Read and remember these three reasons to avoid flushing wet wipes down the toilet.
1. Wet Wipes Block Plumbing in the Home
Unlike toilet paper, wet wipes remain strong even when they are soaking wet. This feature makes wet wipes extremely useful for cleaning, but it creates a lot of problems when you flush them away. The wipes do not disintegrate but rather remain in the pipes, potentially creating a blockage.
Even wet wipes that are marketed as "flushable" do not break down in water. As a result, they can block pipes and even cause your toilet to back up and overflow. Plumbing services claim that wet wipes are a common factor in household plumbing blockages, which can be very expensive to repair.
2. Wet Wipes Are Found in Urban Fatbergs
Fatbergs are becoming a major problem in cities around the world. These huge clumps of cooking oil, grease, human waste and solid objects block city sewers, causing water to flood into the streets. Some fatbergs grow as large as city buses. According to water treatment experts, wet wipes contribute to the formation of fatbergs, increasing costs for water companies and local municipalities who have to clean up the mess.
3. Wet Wipes Are a Danger to Wildlife
Marine animals also suffer as a result of people flushing wet wipes down the toilet. Whereas toilet paper is typically made from purely natural fibres, wet wipes often contain microplastics, which help the wipes to retain their structure even when they are wet. These microplastics end up in the ocean after they are flushed. Marine animals that eat these microplastics can suffer serious health problems as a result of having large amounts of plastic build up in their stomachs.
If bigger fish eat the small animals that have feasted on microplastics, they can also suffer the consequences of ingesting this marine pollutant. Scientists are not yet sure of the health effects for humans who eat fish that have ingested microplastics. Keep plastic out of the food chain by always disposing of wet wipes with household waste rather than flushing them.