Last week I was asked to attend a meeting at Tauranga City Council to discuss the growing concern over the use and disposal of wet wipes which claim to be biodegradable and flushable.
Not all of these products are actually biodegradable or flushable, and they can be a hazard at our waste water treatment plant.
Wet wipes have made our lives easier in many respects, but the marketing used strongly suggests they are not bad for the environment and that they can be flushed down the loo like toilet paper, but this can be misleading and problematic.
What we need is better understanding from the public not to flush these products, but instead put them out in kerbside weekly rubbish for collection. We also need a cross-party solution to resolve this issue New Zealand-wide, which may mean regulating the branding and advertising of these products to clearly state they are not to be used as a flushable product, nor are they biodegradable.
When flushed down the toilet, wet wipes can catch on snags inside pipes, causing blockages which are tricky and expensive to clear. Once in the open waterways, birds and fish try to consume them. In Tauranga alone, two tonnes of wet wipes are flushed down the toilet every week.
New Zealand First believes our environment needs to be protected and preserved. Let’s start caring for our environment, so it is safe and clean for our children and our children’s children to enjoy.