Plastic – not fantastic for our sewers
Brussels 10 October 2018: Wet wipes cause substantial damage to our sewer network. The vote by the ENVI Committee of the European Parliament today on single use plastics will reduce this.
Wet wipe producers will now have to inform consumers about the negative impacts of their products through labelling and awareness raising campaigns.
“MEPs supported measures in favour of consumers and the environment” said Jean Pierre Silan, co-chair of the EurEau Committee for Waste Water after today’s vote. “We see the damage that single use plastics cause to our sewers, and waste water sector should not pay for fixing this. We are pleased that manufacturers will have to inform consumers that their products should not be flushed and of the effects of their inappropriate disposal.”
Importantly, MEPs supported the Commission proposal to include wet wipes in extended producer responsibility schemes.
A lot of wet wipes do not biodegrade or disintegrate once in the sewer system, blocking pipes and pumps as they accumulate. Apart from harming the environment, this situation costs European waste water operators several hundreds of millions of euros every year. This cost is passed on to water consumers regardless of if they use wet wipes or not.
By making producers more responsible for the damage to our waste water systems they will be encouraged to make their products more environmentally – and consumer – friendly.