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20th March 2015, Cary, NC/Washington, DC

Associations work together to launch improved ‘flushability’ guidelines

The new Fourth Edition guidelines will build on the framework of the Third Edition Guidance Document for Assessing the Flushabiity of Nonwoven Disposable Products. A group of five associations, representing the water sector and the nonwoven fabrics industry, are working collaboratively on the joint development of a new edition of guidelines that will influence product design and support the marketing of nonwoven products as flushable, with no adverse effects on wastewater systems. 

The associations will also meet in Washington, DC, on 26 March, to explore the establishment of a collaborative product stewardship initiative to promote greater responsibility for the proper disposal of nonwoven products, including wipes not designed to be flushed.

Voluntary guidance

The association group includes INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry; NACWA, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies; APWA, the American Public Works Association; WEF, the Water Environment Federation; as well as CWWA, the Canadian Water & Wastewater Association.

The associations began developing the new edition on 27 January 2015 and it is scheduled to be completed by July next year.  The new Fourth Edition guidelines will build on the framework of the Third Edition Guidance Document for Assessing the Flushabiity of Nonwoven Disposable Products.

The last edition is the current voluntary guidance used by the wipes industry. The Third Edition Guidance Document represents a reasonable framework to which new information and collaborative sharing of technical expertise between the wastewater sector and the nonwoven fabrics industry should be applied to further improve the flushability guidelines.

Increase public awareness

The primary goal for the meeting in March will be to explore opportunities to increase public and consumer awareness about the proper disposal of the nonwoven wipes products, and also to increase the wipes industry’s responsibility over downstream impacts of these products. 

The meeting will include wastewater sector representatives, as well as the sustainability and marketing leaders of the nonwoven fabrics industry.

“Some nonwoven wipes products are not designed to be flushed but get inappropriately flushed anyway, so INDA is working together with NACWA, APWA, WEF and CWWA to develop improved flushability guidelines and other efforts to help alleviate the problems caused in the wastewater systems,” said Dave Rousse, INDA President.

Improvement in labelling

As a group, the associations would like to see improvement in the labelling of wipes that are not designed to be flushed, as well as the development of strategies for a broader consumer education.

“APWA welcomes the collaborative product stewardship process, and the discussions about the products that are commonly flushed and causing problems in wastewater systems,” said Peter B. King, APWA Executive Director.

“NACWA looks forward to working with the wipes industry to help improve consumer awareness about products that should and should not be flushed,” said Ken Kirk, NACWA Executive Director. “Toilets are not trash cans, and reducing the amount of inappropriately flushed products will save utilities millions of dollars each year.”

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