Yorkshire Water backs ban on plastics in wet wipes

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Wet wipes recovered from the sewer system in York. Picture: Yorkshrie Water
Wet wipes recovered from the sewer system in York. Picture: Yorkshrie Water

YORKSHIRE Water has called for a ban on plastics in wet wipes and all single-use sanitary items as they can lead to sewage problems.

The firm is also calling for an end to ‘Fine to Flush’ labelling and the introduction of mandatory ‘Do Not Flush’ warnings on single use sanitary items packaging.

As well as this, with evidence supplied to the Government, Yorkshire Water has called for an extension of the responsibility of manufacturers to cover cost of educating customers about correct methods of disposal and clean-up costs resulting from incorrect disposal.

Ben Roche, director of wastewater at Yorkshire Water, said: “Wet wipes containing plastic, which do not break down in the sewer like toilet paper, are regularly flushed into our sewer network. These have a significant impact on the operation of our network and can lead to restricted toilet use, sewage entering homes and gardens, sewage escapes into the local environment or pollution to local watercourses."

The UK uses 11 billion wet wipes per year and 90 per cent of those contain plastic. In 2021, 45 per cent of the blockages Yorkshire Water removed from the sewer network in the region were caused by wet wipes being incorrectly flushed down toilets.

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