Flushable wipes are not exactly at the top of my list of glam green blog topics, but nonetheless this is an important environmental issue. Despite the fact that flushable wipes do definitely flush, they don’t exactly break up and biodegrade like you might think. Wipes in the sanitary sewer system can clog home plumbing and city sewer pumps. A working pump is a necessary part of a city’s sewer infrastructure pumping our wastewater to the water treatment plant. A pump failure can mean sanitary sewer backups in streets and homes.
Clearing a pipe of wipes, rags, and paper towels creates a lot of extra and unnecessary work for your municipality. A mechanic must climb into the well, manually remove the pump, and pull out the clogged items, as shown in the image above. Sometimes they pull buckets of debris from the pump!
Like so many other things, disposing of the wipes in the trash rather than flushing them, is an easy way to go green. So if you use wipes at home, in your daycare or senior living facility, please think twice before you flush.