Wet wipes have been causing obstructions in drains across the country and one UK water company is taking action.
Yorkshire Water said ‘millions of pounds’ was spent by staff clearing drain blockages each year.
Bosses have now called for mandatory ‘do not flush’ labelling on wet wipes to curb the issue.
Wet wipes – particularly baby and toilet wipes – cause some of the worst blockages.
Such blockages can lead to restricted toilet use for customers, sewage escapes into properties and gardens and in some cases pollution in local watercourses.
Yorkshire Water said current labelling on the products leaves consumers confused over how to correctly dispose of them.
The firm said many consumers believe wipes without a ‘fine to flush’ label can be flushed, especially if they are labelled as ‘biodegradable’.
However, it warned that neither ‘biodegradable’ nor ‘fine to flush’ products break down in the sewer network and can cause significant issues in the system.
Ben Roche, director of wastewater at Yorkshire Water, said: “Consumers are currently faced with an array of different logos and claims on packets of wet wipes, including ‘fine to flush’, ‘do not flush’ and ‘biodegradable’ labels.
“Those labelled ‘fine to flush’ often indicate only one wipe should be flushed at a time, but often this is not followed or understood by customers.
“Even then, these wipes generally contain plastic so do not break down in the sewer as toilet roll does.”
Mr Roche added: ‘We are also calling on the Government to extend the responsibility to manufacturers to cover cost of educating customers about correct methods of disposal, and clean-up costs resulting from incorrect disposal.”
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