Flushable toilet wipes are not a new invention. There are many wet wipes pertaining to be flushable or at the very least degradable out there. However, not all flushables wipes are made equal and not every nonwoven wipe is flushable to begin with.
To truly discern a flushable wet wipe from a non-flushable wet wipe, we need to first understand a few key facts.
What is a non woven
Nonwovens are unique, high-tech, engineered fabrics made from fibres and which are used across a wide range of applications and products.
Nonwoven materials are fabric like materials whose fibers are held together by some chemical or mechanical process and combined rather than woven. Nonwovens have various applications across industries. Wipes (wet wipes) are only one of the applications, usually in medical or near medical fields. In terms of disposability, the industry has tried to create a standard for flushability including dispersibility but until recently, no clear standard has been set and therefore, it is recommended for all manufacturers to mark the nonwovens as “no-flush”.
What is a flushable (dispersible) material
A flushable material, unlike the regular nonwovens, can completely break up and “disappear” or “melt” into the water after a very short time.
In the EU The standard for flushability is set by the organization EDANA and in the US by INDA. In order to be labeled “flushable” a product must undergo and pass 7 tests including the slosh box test (see video below). The purpose of this test is to assess the potential for a product to disintegrate when it is subjected to mechanical agitation in water or wastewater.
What’s the difference between a flushable and a biodegradable material or wipe?
Some wipes are dubbed” flushable” even when in fact they are only biodegradable. Biodegradability is important but wet wipes, even “flushable” ones, when flushed into toilets have been known to clog internal plumbing, septic systems, and public sewer systems. The tendency for fat and wet wipes to bind together creates obstructions in sewers known as ‘fatbergs’. Moreover, some brands of wipes contain alcohol, which can kill the bacteria and enzymes responsible for breaking down solid waste in septic tanks.
Dispersible wipes, on the other hand, completely break up in water after a very short time. A test performed by one of our industry partners, Suominen, shows the standard flushable wipe still pretty much intact after 60 minutes (!!) of flushing, while a dispersible wipe starts breaking up after only 10 minutes and is completely gone after 60 minutes.
Wetnaps’ Flushable wipes and commitment to sustainability
Because we only have one planet and we care about it, we partnered with Suominen, the Industry second biggest nonwovens manufacturer and we work with their HYDRASPUN® material when we produce our flushable / dispersible wet wipes.