Lucas is into everything now, moving things to where he thinks they should be and trying to get into things I would rather he didn’t. The other day I found his shoes in the cupboard with my pans, his books under the bathroom sink and Lucas ready to empty the contents of the bin. With this in mind, it doesn’t surprise me that when asked what their kids had sent for a swim down the loo, parents said these were the most common:
• Cardboard middle of the loo roll – 37%
• Toys – 17%
• Bars of soap – 17%
• Food – 15%
• Lego – 12%
• Money – 6%
• Clothing – 5%
• Keys – 3%
• Jewellery – 2%
Water company United Utilities are on a mission to stop people flushing the wring things down the loo, especially wet wipes, whether they are baby wipes or the ones advertised as flushable toilet wipes.
In a survey of 1000 people, a quarter said they flush baby wipes down the toilet, a third of whom do so more than once a week. Given that we use between 1,500 and 2,500 baby wipes per child from the day they are born to the age of three (source Euromonitor) – that’s an awful lot of wipes going down our drains!
These wipes are causing massive problems for our sewer systems and the environment because, even if they say they are flushable, they don’t break down like toilet tissue.
Instead they snag on pipe joints causing significant blockages, particularly when they also mix with fats, oils and grease that gets poured down our drains.
Water companies have to spend millions to unblock public pipes. United Utilities tackles around 25,000 blockages, costing around £10 million, each year.
Homeowners can also be hit with a hefty bill as all too often, the blockage occurs in pipes on their property. On average, it costs around £99 to call out a plumber to fix blocked domestic pipes/toilets. Many people don’t know that water companies aren’t responsible for fixing blockages on domestic properties and that insurance companies often won’t pay out if the problem was caused by items flushed other than the three Ps.
As well as blocking our sewers, flushing wipes is also bad for the environment. For example, the number of wet wipes washing up on beaches in the UK increased by more than 50% last year, according to a report published by the Marine Conservation Society’s.
All these issues can be avoided by binning wipes rather than flushing them. We should only be flushing the three Ps – pee, poo and toilet paper.
United Utilities have put together a parent pack full of activities and information. They are also running a competition where you can win one of 30 £25 Boots vouchers.
*Collaboration with United Utilities