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Action on flushing in Illinois

Municipalities have recently experienced increased volumes of wipes in their sewer and treatment systems.

10th August 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Illinois, USA


Illinois has become the third US state to enact legislation on the labelling of non-flushable nonwoven wipes.

Products that should not be flushed down the toilet must now carry the ‘Do Not Flush’ label to be sold in the state.

The bill has received wide support from Illinois wastewater agencies, as well as organisations within the wipes industry. Illinois municipalities have recently experienced increased volumes of wipes in their sewer and treatment systems that contribute to clogs and other operational disruptions.

“The impact of non-flushable wipes on public wastewater systems grows more problematic and expensive to ratepayers with each passing day,” said Brandon Janes, president of the Illinois Association of Wastewater Agencies. “We are proud to have worked with our partners in the wipes manufacturing industry to put Illinois at the forefront of the nation in addressing this serious issue.”

In June, similar legislation was signed into law in Oregon, continuing the momentum around the Responsible Flushing Alliance’s campaign to equip consumers with more tools to make responsible flushing decisions. Washington State was the first to enact wipes legislation in March 2020.

“Prominent disposal labelling is essential in educating consumers on flushable versus non-flushable products, and we are pleased this legislation has passed in Illinois,” said Lara Wyss, president of the Responsible Flushing Alliance. “Clear labelling is a critical step in helping consumers practice responsible flushing habits, which in turn leads to healthier homes and communities for all of us.”

Some examples of non-flushable wipes that warrant the ‘Do Not Flush’ label include baby wipes, cosmetic or facial wipes, hard surface cleaning or sanitizing wipes, floor cleaning wipes, make-up wipes and bath wipes. There are also non-flushable items contributing to clogs that shouldn’t be flushed, such as paper towels, menstrual products, cotton swabs, dental floss, rags and fats/oil/grease.

The Responsible Flushing Alliance is a non-profit organisation dedicated to consumer awareness focused on what should and should not be flushed.

The coalition of wipes manufacturing companies includes Albaad, Andritz, Dude Products, Essity, First Quality, Georgia Pacific, Johnson & Johnson, Jacob Holm, Kelheim Fibres, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Nehemiah Manufacturing, Nice-Pak, Procter & Gamble, Rockline Industries, Sellars Nonwovens and Suominen.

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