Summary: Choosing the right flushable wipes ...
Choosing the right flushable wipes
is one of the most important decisions you can make. It is important to understand the differences between textured and untextured wipes so that you can select the product that best fits your needs.Choosing between textured and untextured flushable wipes might be a personal preference, but a recent study from Charleston Water revealed some of the yucky consequences of flushing the wrong wipe. Wipes, for instance, are a notorious source of clogs in home plumbing systems and municipal wastewater systems alike. One New Jersey plumber has been known to fish out a number of wipes from local drains, recommending that only toilet paper be flushed.
The most important question to ask is how long will a particular type of flushable wipe last? Some materials break down quite quickly and are best used on the toilet. Thankfully, there are several high-quality flushable wipes on the market, including several manufactured by Pampers. These are touted as being made from a blend of rayon and polypropylene and claim to be "fabric-like" in the sense that they are smooth and easy to wipe down. Some even advertise their wipes as being 70% TENCEL fiber, though this isn't a 100% truth statement.The most impressive of these products is the WaterWipes, which is a single-ply cloth that is a cinch to flush. Unlike other flimsy wipes, it holds up well under water and is a breeze to clean up. It's also a good choice for the hands-on types, as it's available in various sizes to suit any budget.
Increasing interest in flushability has led to an increase in the number of products and technologies in the category. For example, Georgia-Pacific/Buckeye's Airspun non-triggered airlaid nonwovens and Suominen's Hyrdraspun are the primary substrates for wipes in the market.Flushable wipes should not clog sewage systems or cause environmental problems. They should also be compatible with onsite and municipal wastewater treatment systems. For this reason, the moist wipes must pass testing by third parties to prove their dispersibility in wastewater systems.The first test to evaluate the dispersibility of wet wipes is the Dispersibility Shake Flask Test. This is a standardized method that is used to assess physical break-up and dispersibility. It is a reproducible test method that can be used to measure the percent mass loss of wet wipes.During the test, the wet wipes are submerged in tap water for an hour. The samples are then shaken to determine their tensile strength. The mass loss value should be greater than 95 percent at 3.18 mm.
This value can be obtained from the INDA EDANA Guidance Document for Assessing Flushability of Nonwoven Consumer Products (GD3).The dispersibility of the wipe substrate is also an important factor. The substrate can be a single layer or multiple layers. The composition of the substrate includes binder composition and a wetting composition. The composition can be a liquid, foam, or suspension. The wetting composition contains 0.4-3.5 percent salt. It is the wetting composition that contributes to the dispersibility of the wipe substrate.Frequently, people wonder whether flushable wipes actually are flushable. Some may wonder if they are safe to flush, and others may not know whether flushable wipes are even biodegradable. These questions are important, especially for those who are concerned about their environmental impact.