It’s one of those questions that seems to offer a different answer everywhere you look. We understand that becoming a new parent can be an overwhelming experience at the best of times, without having to wade through swathes of conflicting advice online. So let’s settle this! Can you flush baby wipes down the toilet? The short answer is: no.
Today’s baby wipe market is crowded with many different brands, some of whom claim their product is flushable. However, according to the BBC in 2018, not a single wet wipe marketed as flushable had so far passed water industry disintegration tests. So why is this important?
Baby wipes can cause huge damage to plumbing and sewerage systems as well as our natural environments if they are flushed. They are said to be the cause of a whopping 93% of blockages in UK sewers and it costs around £100m every year to fix them. Known as ‘fatbergs’, large masses of congealed fats and oils combined with wet wipes are becoming an increasing headache for water companies, with some of them weighing up to 100 tonnes and requiring teams of engineers and power tools to break them up. But it’s not only the financial cost but also the environmental impact which is a problem - wipes eventually end up on riverbeds and beaches, and the tiny plastic fibres in them can harm fish and other marine life when ingested.
In the UK alone, we use 11 billion wet wipes every year. Yes, 11 billion! That’s why it’s so important to dispose of them properly and also make the right choice when you’re choosing your wipes. Many of the leading brands are made from 80% plastic, while Kit & Kin wipes are 100% biodegradable and made entirely from a sustainably sourced, plant-based material. Just imagine what a difference it would make if all 11 billion of those wipes were eco-friendly.However, it’s easy to think that plant-based wipes like ours can be flushed as they’re made from natural fibres, but ALL baby wipes, whatever they are made from, should be disposed of in the bin. As the water companies say, only the three P’s should go down the toilet - pee, poo, and paper - so we recommend ignoring any promises of flushable wipes, and focusing on biodegradable wipes instead.