Our water system needs your help to keep it healthy and working well! Unfortunately there are a whole lot of things going down our drains that shouldn't be. Here are a few tips about what's good and bad news for our pipes.
Tips for healthy drains
There are products from all areas of our homes that need to stay out of our drains! You can make simple changes in your day-to-day life which will make a big difference to the health of our water systems.
While there are many things we don't want down our drains, we want to call attention to one particular product we're having a lot of trouble with - wipes!
Keep wipes out of sewer pipes!
'Flushable' wipes are NOT flushable. These wipes are causing problems for water infrastructure worldwide, including ours here at GWMWater. Although often advertised as 'biodegradable' and 'flushable', these wipes simply are not. Toilet paper is designed to quickly break down as soon as it gets wet; the cloth-like structure of wipes doesn't do the same. Wipes cause blockages that can damage pipes and infrastructure, cause overflows, and even injure our maintenance workers.
So please bin your wipes, don't flush them!
Avoid flushing the following items; they belong in the bin:
- tampons and pads
- nappies and incontinence wipes
- hygiene and cleaning wipes
- cotton buds
- razor blades
- paper towel
- plastics and wrappers.
There are some simple things you can do in the kitchen to keep our pipes healthy:
- Wipe pots and pans with paper towel after cooking. Place paper towel in the bin after use.
- Pour fats and oils onto your compost heap/garden, or pour into a sealable container and bin it.
- Use a sink strainer to capture scraps.
- Put food scraps into your compost.
- Bin the small sticky labels on fruit and vegetables.
The type of laundry detergent you use can actually be really important! Try to find products which are phosphate-free and environmentally friendly. You can also just try and use less detergent for each wash - you might be surprised at how little you need for an effective wash.
Don't pour or flush dangerous chemicals down your drains. Products such as paint, oils, lubricants, pesticides and thinners are not only terrible for the environment, they actually damage and corrode our pipes. Additionally, they can create fumes which are dangerous for our maintenance workers.
Safely dispose of these products by contacting your local council and asking about their waste policies.
Watch Choice Magazine test whether Kleenex wipes break down (Youtube video)
Do flushable wipes really break down? Choice Magazine tests them alongside toilet paper. Check out the time-lapse video.