Water UK is urging the public to make a New Year’s resolution we can all keep for 2024: “Bin the Wipe”.

Almost 1 in 5 UK adults admit to putting wet wipes down the loo

  • 76% of UK adults say they are aware of the damage, pollution or harms flushing wet wipes can cause*
  • 88% say protecting homes, animals and the environment is important to them**
  • However, 31% of UK adults flush items such as cotton pads and nappies down theloo***

In 2024, Bin the Wipe!

We all know how difficult it can be to keep those New Year’s resolutions. Well, this one is really easy – by placing a bin next to your loo, it’s a simple thing to remember to do: Bin the Wipe!

Whether used for household cleaning, make-up removal or baby care, flushing wet wipes contributes to polluting our rivers and seas, and can cause harm to marine life.  Wipes can combine with other flushed items in our pipes and sewers, causing fatbergs, blocked and burst pipes, flooding and sewage leaks in our homes, costing the country more than £200 million a year.

Despite this, new research reveals nearly 1 in 5 UK adults (17%) still flush wet wipes down the toilet.

Reasons for flushing wet wipes stated were: the belief that it is safe to do so (43%), convenience (36%), always done this (26%), don’t know any other way (15%) and not having a bin in the bathroom (14%).

The Bin the Wipe campaign aims to educate the public on the harms of disposing of wet wipes and other non-flushable items down the toilet.

The largest ever fatberg was discovered in Whitechapel in 2017. The 250-metre-long mound of fat and unflushables, weighing in at 130 tonnes (the equivalent of 11 double decker buses!), took Thames Water engineers nine weeks to remove. Meanwhile objects including mobile phones, clothing, toys, bottle caps and tennis balls are frequently flushed and end up at sewage treatment works.

Water and sewerage companies in England and Wales are planning to invest £11 billion to start to overhaul our sewage network and reduce the use of storm overflows as much as possible.

William Davies, Communications Director, Water UK, said:

“We know the harms flushing wet wipes can cause yet our polling shows that many of us are still doing it. 

“In 2024, we want everyone to make a resolution to prevent non-flushable waste going down the loo and to dispose of wet wipes and other items in the bin. By making this simple change we can do our bit to protect the environment and our homes.”

Robbie Moore MP, Minister for Water, said: 

“Start 2024 with a New Year’s resolution we can all keep – Bin the Wipe! I urge everyone in the UK to get behind this campaign and to be mindful of how we dispose of our waste. If you need to use wet wipes, dispose of them in the bin, not the loo. 

 

“We are also taking action and have recently consulted on banning wet wipes containing plastic across the UK to reduce plastic and microplastic pollution – all part of our ambitious Plan for Water delivering more investment, stronger regulation and tougher enforcement across the water system.”