For the best part of a decade, the nonwovens industry has been working through industry associations, INDA and EDANA, to collaborate with relevant wastewater agencies to advance the shared objective of reducing the amount of non-flushable materials in the wastewater stream. To do this, guidelines have been drawn up to define what is flushable, with a ‘Do Not Flush’ labelling practice establishe for products not meeting the
The challenge is three-fold and involves ensuring that:
1. Any product that is marketed as ‘flushable’ can be flushed into the wastewater system without adversely impacting plumbing or wastewater infrastructure and operations.
2. The general public is made aware of the importance of using the wastewater system to dispose only toilet paper and nonwoven products which have been established to be flushable through the INDA/EDANA Flushability Guidelines Assessment process.
3. Products which do not meet the criteria in these guidelines are appropriately labelled in accordance with the INDA/EDANA Code of Practice.
The 3rd edition of the Flushability Guidelines published this month greatly simplifies things.
A straight-forward yes or no to four simple questions is all it now takes to assess whether a disposable nonwoven product can be deemed flushable or not. These are:
1. Is the product constructed from nonwoven sheet(s)?
2. Is the product designed for, marketed for, or commonly used in a bathroom setting or for toileting purposes?
3. In normal use could the product become contaminated with faeces, menses, urine or germs
typically associated with these wastes?
4. Is the product designed and marketed to be flushed?
If the answer is affirmative in every case and the product passes the technical assessment it is deemed flushable and a ‘flushable claim’ is appropriate.
If not, the product should be disposed to the solid waste stream and the packaging should include Do Not Flush instructions and symbols.
In response to peer feedback, the original tiered approach of 23 tests has been replaced by a more transparent, rigorous straight-line assessment using only seven core tests, all of which must be passed to support a flushable claim.
All core test methods have been reviewed, updated and options which introduced uncertainty removed. Significant stakeholder and peer concerns are now addressed with the introduction of the following:
• Clearer scope for assessment with a decision tree.
• A clearer labelling code of practice with single ‘Do Not Flush’ logo.
• The use of pass/fail criteria for the Slosh Box Disintegration Test.
• The inclusion of the Municipal Sewage Pump test for all regions.
• A 14 day aerobic biodisintegration test time which aligns more closely with municipal treatment residence time.