3. Wipe out wipes
In the Wessex Water region, we clear a sewer blockage caused by wet wipes roughly every 40 minutes. Sometimes these blockages cause sewage to back up through people’s toilets or spill from manhole covers, which can pollute streams and rivers.
The environmental impact of clearing blockages
Each clean up requires at least one van and a dedicated colleague to drive to the site and remove the wipes. For blockages that cause large amounts of sewage flooding, two or sometimes three vans and operators attend to clear them.
The removed wet wipes are then driven to a central processing site where they join mountains of other wipes ready for incineration. This process and vehicle emissions produce a surprising amount of carbon.
You can help us to reduce the environmental impact of clearing blockages by only flushing three Ps – poo, paper and pee.
Choose reusables alternatives
Take this a step further by wiping out wipes completely. Most wipes contain some form of plastic, something many of us are trying to use less of to benefit the environment.
Reusable washable wipes are excellent and arguably do a better job. Reusable makeup pads are kinder to the skin, and cloth cleaning products are easy to wash and last a long time. I wouldn't be able to go without my washable cloths that I use for cleaning my children’s sticky faces, fingers and little spills. Give them a try and if you love them, tell your friends to make the swap!
If you need to use disposable wipes, pop them in a bin afterwards to avoid blockages. Even wipes that are labelled as 'flushable' don’t break up properly in our sewers.