Flushing waste down the toilet can be an easy way to eliminate small, biodegradable items in our homes. And recently, we’ve had a surge in companies claiming that their baby wipes are flushable.
But, are they? The answer is no. Despite what these manufacturers advertise, flushable baby wipes are a primary cause of sewer line clogs and blockages.
Unclogging private and municipal sewer lines is costly for municipal waste managers and homeowners. In fact, flushing baby wipes down the toilet for an extended period will ultimately clog your house sewer drains too.
4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Flush Baby Wipes Down the Toilet
Wipes Take Time To Break Up
Baby wipes manufacturers claim that their products are flushable and do not cause immediate damage to your drain lines. However, what they don’t tell you is that baby wipes take weeks and even months in the drainpipes before disintegrating.
Additionally, as they’re non-biodegradable, they may take hundreds of years before degrading and disappearing from landfills.
Baby Wipes Block Sewer Lines
As baby pipes take time to disintegrate, they’ll accumulate and get stuck in drain pipes and around tree roots. And some might say that they flush one or two wipes daily, which are not enough to cause a blockage.
But remember, drain lines feed to sewer lines, which are interconnected throughout the city. How many baby wipes get flushed into the sewer lines in a day? The answer is thousands.
Blockages are Costly to Clear
If baby wipes make it through the sewer lines, chances are that they won’t make it through the pumps at the sewage treatment plant. The effect is that solid baby wipes and other non-biodegradable materials overwork the pumps, resulting in overheating and eventually costly damages.
For example, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection spends an annual $19 million on sewer line repairs related directly to baby wipes blockages.
Wipes Clump, Slowing Down Drainages
Wipes clump with fats, oil, and grease (FOG) in the sewer lines to form massive non-biodegradable masses known as fatbergs. Fatbergs form due to obstruction from tree roots and surplus cement drips within the sewer pipes that prevent smooth drainage of wastes.
The result is a lump of congealed materials, including baby wipes, wet wipes, food waste, condoms, sanitary towels, needles, and cotton buds. The lump can be as hard as concrete, slowing drainages and resulting in sewer line flooding.
Remember, toilet paper and body waste are the only two things that are flushable down the toilet. In other words, you can flush pee, poo, and (toilet) paper, but no other matter, regardless of the labeling, down the toilet.
More than 55 percent of sewer line flooding directly results from flushing food waste, dental floss, and wipes. Consequently, many eco-conscious companies and government agencies are creating public awareness against flushing such non-biodegradable products.
And we can all contribute to a sustainable environment by throwing baby wipes into the trash bins. Finally, we recommend contacting a licensed plumber if you need help unclogging your drain lines.