The pandemic has resulted in increased clogs in sewer systems as people use more wipes falsely labelled as “flushable”. Now, plastic-free period product pioneer Natracare has joined forces in the US with the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC) to “fight for truth-in-labelling policies”.
Their stated goal is to ensure that consumers in California and throughout the US feel confident in how wipes are labeled.
Natracare is also launching the first certified Safe to Flush Moist Tissue in the United States.
Natracare’s Safe to Flush Moist Tissue was developed in response to the growing economic and ecological issue caused by flushing plastic wipes – and to showcase how it is possible for other brands to do the same.
Local, state, and federal wastewater operators, government officials, legislators, and advocates are pushing for proper labelling laws across the US to deter flushing and prevent clogs. California Assembly member Richard Bloom reintroduced legislation this year as AB 818 which is co-sponsored by NSAC and the California Association of Sanitation Agencies and would require wipes to be clearly and conspicuously labeled with the phrase “Do Not Flush” and related moniker, as well as a consumer public education and outreach program about what to flush. AB 818 has been negotiated and supported with producers of the wipes. Similar legislation is being considered in other states at the local and state levels, and a federal bill may be introduced. Just last year, Washington State passed the country’s first statewide flushable wipes labeling law, but AB 818 in California builds on those standards and is even stronger.
Susie Hewson, Natracare’s founder and director says: “From the beginning, Natracare has been committed to providing sustainable and healthy products, as well as campaigning for other brands to do the same. Natracare proudly joins NSAC to continue on this mission by developing a sustainable wipe that does not clog pipes or release plastic into our waterways.”
“Natracare proudly joins NSAC to continue on this mission by developing a sustainable wipe that does not clog pipes or release plastic into our waterways.”
Heidi Sanborn, executive director of National Stewardship Action Council, shares: “The National Stewardship Action Council is thrilled to welcome a sustainability leader like Natracare as a member. We look forward educating the public about Natracare’s environmentally preferable personal hygiene products so that more Americans can make purchasing decisions that support their health and a circular economy.”
Why do proper flushing labelling laws matter?
Currently, localities across the U.S. have been experiencing a proportional increase in clogged pipes due to flushed wipes with the increased sales of so-called “flushable” wipes. And with the COVID-19 global pandemic, clogs have become even more prevalent due to the increased use of “flushable” wipes as an alternative to toilet paper. These clogs are expensive to homeowners and water districts, increase the risk to sanitation employees who must clear the pipes during a pandemic, and add plastic microfibres to public water systems and the environment.
Natracare has spent the past three years developing a product which eliminates plastic pollution at the source. Natracare’s Safe to Flush Moist Tissues are made from 100% biodegradable paper and do not clog sewers. Unfortunately, in the US, products containing plastic can be sold as “flushable” when they are not. The Safe to Flush Moist Tissues are certified as Fine to Flush in the UK, but in the US, there is no such certification. Environmental and product certifications are important for protecting people and the planet because they set the legal benchmarks for brands to meet.
Natracare and NSAC say their partnership is a natural match, both lobbying for policy change that will protect public health and the environment. In California and beyond, the partnership will advocate for wet wipes that are unsafe to flush to be labelled as such, which will result in fewer clogs and microplastics entering the water.