Why You Should Never Flush Wipes, Even if They’re Biodegradable

Many people ask “can you flush biodegradable wipes?” The simple answer is – no. You shouldn’t flush any wipes at all! It’s good to avoid wipes made from plastic, but even non-plastic ones should either be binned or composted.

Natracare’s Safe to Flush Moist Tissues are the exception to this rule because they’re not wipes! Our moist tissues are made of robust paper, and moistened with a blend of organic and natural ingredients. They’re the only product in the UK to be certified with Water UK’s Fine to Flush certification.

Water UK recently announced that wet wipes account for a whopping 93% of the material blocking UK sewers! The vast majority of wipes on the supermarket shelves are made from polypropylene, a type of plastic. It’s fantastic to hear the government’s enthusiasm to do something about this.

Here’s how to dispose of wipes properly…

How do I dispose of wipes responsibly?

The solution is simple and cheap. Place two bins in the bathroom. One for non-recyclable rubbish, and one for recycling.

toilet beside a normal bin and recycling bin
Image Credit: City to Sea Items for your recycling bin include…

  • Finished toilet rolls
  • Cardboard packaging from toothpaste, Natracare boxes
  • Recyclable packaging from shampoo, conditioner, shower gel (or try switching to soap and shampoo bars to completely avoid plastic !)
  • Biodegradable natracare wipes which you can compost in your garden

For things like dirty baby wipes, and used tampons, sanitary pads and liners that you don’t want to compost, we would recommend sealing them in a compostable bag (or reuse a Natracare Maxi pad bag) and then throw them out with your rubbish.

Everything that can’t be recycled can go into the second bin. Make the recycling bin the bigger one as more of the waste should be recyclable that not.

How are Natracare wet wipes better?

As an ethical and responsible manufacturer of wet wipes, it’s our mission to be offering solutions that help to reduce your environmental impact. We commit to:

  1. No plastics! Not many people realise that wipes are usually made from polyester or a blend of plastic and viscose materials. These single-use plastic wipes are just adding to the increasing plastic burden in our oceans or on land. Natracare wipes are 100% biodegradable.
  2. A plant-based formula, with organic essential oils, all certified by the Soil Association. We already know that toxic chemicals can be aggressive for the skin, but what about the environmental footprint? The production and disposal of synthetic preservatives allows unwanted chemicals to enter our water system and therefore into the food chain. To find out more about this process of bioaccumulation, see this explanation by soap manufacturer Lush.
  3. Clear flushing labels on our packs.

non flushable sign on wet wipes

Remember, only 3ps should be flushed down the toilet: Pee, Poo and (toilet) Paper

rethink toilet waste
Image Credit: Natalie Fee’s Ted Talk

A final note on “flushable” wipes

You’ll see on the supermarket shelves many types of wipe claim to be “flushable”. It’s important to note that water authorities don’t agree with these claims. The wipes might disappear from your sight but sadly they don’t break down, causing blockages that are costing UK taxpayers £100million a year!

At the time of writing, Natracare’s Safe to Flush Moist Tissues are the only product of its type in Europe to have passed stringent tests designed by the Water Research Council, which replicate the conditions in the sewers. Only flush tissues with the fine to flush logo:
fine to flush logo

For more excellent resources check out the following:

Read top tips on flushable and biodegradable with South West Water’s Love your Loo campaign

Join in with Marine Conservation Society’s Wet Wipes Turn Nasty campaign

Learn “Why Plastic Pollution is Personal” in Natalie Fee’s TEDx Talk.

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10 thoughts on “Why You Should Never Flush Wipes, Even if They’re Biodegradable

  1. Val Rooney said:

    Congrats on accreditation.
    Are your ‘safe to flush wipes’ made of cotton or kitchen towel type paper or both.
    Ive had a kitchen paper blockage and am still concerned

    • Natracare said:

      Hi Val,
      The natracare safe to flush moist tissues are 100% paper (no cotton, viscose or plastic!). The wipes will be smoother texture and a little thinner than average kitchen towel paper. They are designed to biodegrade and break down easily after use, hence the “fine to flush” accreditation on for them!

      Our other organic wipes are not suited for flushing: Baby wipes, Intimate cleansing wipes, and Makeup remover wipes are all made with a soft, strong organic cotton cloth. Again these wipes totally biodegradable and plastic free however not suitable for flushing as they won’t break down quickly enough in water waste systems.

  2. Gloria White said:

    Are Natracare wipes available in the United States?

  3. Brie said:

    If they say they’re biodegradable and made of natural fibers, why can’t the be composted?

    • Natracare said:

      Hi Brie, natracare wipes are all compostable – this is the best method of disposal for all our wipes made from organic cotton cloth. Biodegradable wipes often don’t have time to break down properly if they are flushed so will contribute to blockages!

  4. Richard Barnes said:

    Are the wrappers of your safe to flush moist tissues recyclable?

    • Natracare said:

      Hi Richard, the wrapper is BPA free and recyclable.

  5. Wendy said:

    How quickly do the “safe to flush” wipes break down – we have a macerator toilet and staff keep putting wipes in the toilet and they get caught around the blade. We need a product that will break down as quickly as toilet paper, or to get a whole new staff team!

    • Natracare said:

      The Safe to Flush wipes break down 15 minutes after flushing.