What is the “Coronavirus Fatberg”?

Since Covid-19 has struck, a global uptick of fatbergs has been reported, from London to Denver to Sydney. As many of us experience a toilet paper shortage, people are shifting what they use to wipe. Replacements for toilet paper are getting flushed down the toilet – leading to what have been dubbed “Coronavirus Fatbergs”.

What is a fatberg?

Fatbergs are large masses of solid waste which build up in our sewage systems. They damage our water treatment centers, leak micro-plastics into our water supply, and the cost is added to our water bills. According to a Water UK study, 93% of fatbergs are made up of flushed wet wipes, many of which contain plastic and are not biodegradable. Some wipes are even labelled biodegradable, but are made with reinforced viscose. Sewage systems don’t offer the right conditions for these wipes to break down.

What is the “Coronavirus Fatberg”?

Coronavirus Fatbergs are occurring in major cities around the world as a result of the toilet paper shortage and panic buying, and the increased use of toilet paper alternatives – especially “flushable” wipes, and unflushable paper like kitchen rolls. Many others are possibly throwing their cleaning and disinfectant wipes down the toilet as well. More than ever, we are all trying to keep our houses clean and safe. Regardless of why or how we use wipes, we must toss them – not flush them – in order to prevent fatbergs clogging our pipes and impacting our water treatment centers.

infographic of items not flushable

The one-step guide to stopping fatbergs is: flush responsibly.

It’s very easy to think of a toilet as a wet bin. When we flush something, it disappears – and we think: out of sight, out of mind. But this causes issues further down the line. When we flush responsibly, we are ensuring that everything is fine to flush and follows the 3 P’s of Flushing: Pee, Poo, and Paper. That means no tampons, condoms, or wipes (even the one falsely marketed as flushable!).

The Fine to Flush certification by Water UK uses the 3 P’s as its foundation, while setting a new standard to challenge companies who are greenwashing customers. It also pushes brands to change their formulas to do better for our planet – because it is not only possible, but necessary.

infographic of flushable items

In 2019, Natracare developed the world’s first Fine to Flush certified moist tissue. Natracare’s Safe to Flush Moist Tissue is a paper-based, plastic free alternative to “flushable” wipes. Made from 100% paper and certified Fine to Flush, this means you can have the clean, fresh feeling that wipes provide without causing fatbergs in your neighborhood. A win-win! Learn more about Natracare’s Safe to Flush moist tissue.

Here at Natracare, we hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy – and flushing responsibly! 🚽

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