Flushable Isn’t Biodegradable: Big Difference

Baby Wipes, Adult Bathroom Wipes, Make Up Wipes, whatever…

No matter by what name you know these cleansing cloths, I think we all need to realize that “Flushable isn’t Biodegradable.” I was so shocked by the MSNBC segment on this that I was moved to write about this in case some of you were unaware of these facts.

This is the segment I am speaking about. Watch it.

When I have used these “flushable” wipes, I was mistakenly under the impression that, since they were flushable and the package said they were safe for septic tanks, I would not be doing any harm by using them.

Wrong!

And I want to explain, in case this isn’t clear, it is true that the flushed wipes usually make it through the sewage system ok. That statement is true, but note the usually. Clogging of your household plumbing can occur and after you have paid a plumber hundreds ( or thousands) of dollars, that “usually” can haunt you for a long time. 

Flushable Isn't Biodegradable - The Hypertufa Gardener

 

But it is when flushed wipes reach the treatment plant where the hangup occurs.

Pardon the pun.

According to the MSNBC video report, millions of dollars are spent cleaning the equipment where the clogging occurs because these wipes are flushable but do contain fibers  which don’t break down in water. These fibrous materials  are caught on the machinery and have to manually be raked away.

I feel sorry for the workers who have that job!

We need to do all we can to reduce the burden on our wastewater systems, especially in a time when every drop of water is precious!  As a consumer, I need to be responsible to not use something that could harm the environment when it can easily be avoided.

What can I use instead?

Here are a few suggestions that I have to use instead of the wipes.

Use toilet paper which breaks down easily. Forgo using wipes just for your convenience.The same goes for makeup removal and eye makeup removal.

Use small cloths cut into squares to clean the baby, such as an old cloth diaper or old receiving blanket. Remember your Moms and Grandmas just rinsed these things and threw them in the  wash with the diapers. If one gets especially gross, just throw it in the trash!

If you must use a disposable on occasion, throw it in the trash, don’t flush it. As the video says, it ends up in the landfill anyway.

Use a tiny bit of skin-sensitive lotion on a handful of toilet paper for your personal use. Just as easy and simple. Job done.

Use a tissue and some baby shampoo dilution.

 

So what do you think about this issue? Did you have any idea that flushable was not “breakdown-able”? I sure didn’t.

Thanks for reading and think about what you can do to help our environment today….then do it.

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Update Oct 2018 :  This is still going on. Check out this newest article from South Carolina.

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article220093010.html

 

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