Process industry leaders in the waste water and sewage sectors’ efforts to secure tougher laws designed to prevent the proliferation of fatbergs have been dealt a blow with the results of a new consumer survey.
The survey of 1,000 people by Lanes Group revealed that nearly two thirds of people (59%) surveyed did not support the proposed Government ban on disposable wipes.
The most common reason for this was the belief that wipes presented no problem if disposed of correctly. Some 43% of ban opponents agreed with this view. Of those who do support a ban on certain wipes, only 15% back prohibition of baby wipes.
However, three quarters of the survey sample described themselves as “quite aware“ of the dangers of pouring those other fatberg constituents – fats, oil and grease (FOG) – down drains.
Less encouraging, nearly half the total respondents (47%) admitted they had disposed of FOG in this way.
The very least that manufacturers can do is to change their packaging and branding to reflect the fact that no wipe is ‘flushable’ and the only safe way to dispose of them is in the bin
Michelle Ringland, head of marketing, Lanes for Drains
Lanes Group, which oversaw the excavation of the 130 tonne Whitechapel monster fatberg in London, pointed out that wipes caused the majority of material in sewer blockages.
Water UK research estimates the 300,000 blockages that occur annually accounted for £100 million in costs in the UK.
Head of marketing at Lanes for Drains, Michelle Ringland, commented: “After more than a decade of circulation and ever-increasing popularity, wet wipes have become one of the most environmentally damaging products in our households and people are dangerously reliant on them.
"The only way to stop them blocking the drains, polluting our waterways, contaminating oceans and killing marine life is to enforce a ban.
“In the meantime, the very least that manufacturers can do is to change their packaging and branding to reflect the fact that no wipe is flushable and the only safe way to dispose of them is in the bin.”