Producers of "flushable" wet-wipes face legal action

Flushable wet wipes are causing blocked drains and sewers in Sydney

Blocked drains Sydney are on the rise as wet wipes continue to grow in popularity. Consumers are using them for a range of things from toilet paper replacement to makeup removal.

Many producers of these wet wipes market them as flushable, claiming they “disintegrate” in the same manner as toilet paper. However, some companies are now facing legal action for making false and misleading representations about their products.

The consumer watchdog has alleged use of advertising terms such as "flushable", "able to be flushed in the toilet", and "designed ... [to] disintegrate in the sewage system" led consumers to believe the products had similar characteristics to toilet paper, when this was not the case.

According to a 2016 SMH article, Sydney Water has been ‘inundated with complaints from households that have paid $300 to $16,000 to get plumbers to clear drains clogged with balls of intransigent wipes.’

Sydney Water’s Kieran Smith stated that 75 per cent of all blocked drains Sydney are caused by wet wipes. Sydney Water have also performed tests on the so-called “flushable” wipes which have shown that they don’t break down even after 20 hours of being agitated in water.

Water authorities and consumers alike are faced with significant problems when non-suitable items find their way into sewer pipes and drains.

JAB Plumbing Solutions have cleared many blockages in Sydney drains caused by wet wipes that have become snagged in the lines and built up over time. Household grease and hair can congeal around the wipes forming a solid mass.

Blocked drains Sydney that are caused by wet wipes require special equipment such as high pressured water jets to be cleared. Shop bought drain cleaning chemicals and toilet plungers are next to helpless against such tough buildups.

CHOICE investigates the claims that flushable wipes are, well, flushable, and asks whether they're really needed at all, or are just another marketing ploy.

Choice spokesperson, Tom Godfrey, told the SMH that "The 'flushable' claims were one of the greatest consumer cons going around. It was very clear these products shouldn't be flushed," he said.

"Consumers in Australia and around the world have been hoodwinked for years and it was all just a cynical ploy to get us to pay more."

Not only are consumers paying more for the wipes, but they are also be forking out money for the cost of removing them once they block up the pipes.

If you’ve got a blocked toilet, blocked sewer or blocked drain Sydney, give our friendly and professional plumbers at JAB Plumbing Solutions a call on 1800 22 555 22.