The Rise of The WET WIPE

What is a wet wipe you ask? Why it’s the latest invention (c. 1957), convenient on the go washing in a wipe! Saves you time, no more soap and water bother to slow you down. The humble wet wipe comes in a variety of styles from facial tissues, make-up wipes, baby wipes to cleaning wipes and of course ‘flushable’ wet wipes. What could be more perfect, wet paper! Now you can effortlessly clean and tenderly caress your behind all at the same time! It’s so soft and moist you only need one piece, no more wasting paper and clogging up the drain from copious amounts of toilet paper. No more ass scraping to get that stubborn piece of nasty shit off your crack that just won’t budge. It’s much sturdier old toilet paper, no more crumbling in your hand when you pull it off the roll. What’s better the packaging says clearly that they are ‘flushable’. No need to strain yourself reaching for the far of bathroom bin, simply discreetly flush them away and all your problems are solved.

Or so you thought! Wet wipes are nothing like toilet paper, in fact they are not even paper but plastic textiles coated with either polyester or polypropylene resin and moistened with water and depending on the application other liquids; softeners, lotions, perfumes and isopropyl alcohol to adjust the tactile properties. To prevent bacterial and fungal growth wet wipes are loaded with preservatives such as methylisothiazolinone. Despite what the packaging indicates wet wipes are not flushable because unlike toilet paper they are not biodegradable, wet wipes do not actually break down. They break into smaller and smaller, microscopic plastic fibers to fill our fish and drinking water with plastic. As we speak wet wipes are clogging up your plumbing.

What makes something FLUSHABLE?
The dictionary defines FLUSHABLE – suitable for disposal by flushing down a toilet.

What makes something suitable for disposal by flushing down a toilet?
It is required to fit in a toilet?
What if it’s more convenient than going to the bin?
What if it says on the packaging that it’s flushable?

If it were simply required to fit in the toilet quite a lot of things would be considered flushable, we could almost do away with rubbish bins. That is if we were to ignore the size of pipes and environmental impact.

Flushing rubbish down the toilet may seem convenient at the time when you’re on the loo and you just so happen to be holding a piece of rubbish (as you do). However, it will come back to bite you on the ass! When your pipes are clogged and you really need to go but you only have one toilet and the plumber has just turned the water off. No to mention the plumbing fees $$ one Sydney resident had a plumbing bill of $16,000 to repair a problem caused by flushing wet wipes.

It goes without saying, wet wipes are not flushable and they are not the only unflushables that make up the soggy conglomeration that clogs pipes, that is known as the Fatberg.  F.O.G. or  fats, oils and grease that are poured down drains where they congeal are a major culprit, along with food scraps and rubbish, plastic toys, large goldfish, tampons, pads and their wrappers, condoms, nappies, cigarette butts, cotton buds, dental floss, hair and unwanted medication to name a few.

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