BRUSSELS - EDANA and member manufacturers of wet wipes have committed to revise on pack labelling to further raise consumer awareness on types of wipes and optimal disposal methods.
This commitment will also see EDANA and relevant members lead national consumer facing awareness campaigns in a number of selected EU countries, beginning with the Netherlands in 2022.
"Our sector has long been active in trying to address the serious problem caused by marine litter and of the role the industry has a duty to play in helping tackle it," EDANA said. "In fact, EDANA has already invested in efforts to reduce wet wipe litter, raise consumer awareness on correct disposal, adopt a Code of Practice for labelling wet wipes and produce wipes that do not impact sewers. Now increased efforts, in conjunction with key stakeholders, and centred on a sound, science-based and collaborative approach can greatly help progress in this direction."
EDANA says it is taking a further step to reinforce its efforts and align its longstanding Code of Practice with the requirements of the Single Use Plastics Directive. This significantly enhanced commitment, to further protect wastewater systems includes:
Clear consumer markings
- Packaging of all non-flushable non-plastic1 wet wipes (i.e. pre-wetted wipes for personal care and domestic use), for sale in the EU with the surface area of 10 cm2 or more, shall bear the following printed marking
- The position, size and design of the marking closely follows the requirements of the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2151 of 17 December 2020 and emphasises the disposal means to be avoided for this non-plastic, non-flushable product with the aim of protecting critical wastewater infrastructure and the environment.
- The modification to the voluntary Code of Practice will be published by end 2021 and implemented the following year.
- To only label as flushable moist toilet tissues that are designed to come in contact with human waste and/or related germs while in the bathroom. Moist toilet tissues labelled “flushable” must meet the 7 performance tests of the industry guidelines to demonstrate compatibility with wastewater infrastructure. To reduce existing consumer confusion, wet wipes that are not moist toilet tissue wipes, should not be marketed as “flushable” even if they are able to pass the appropriate flushability assessment.
- EDANA will commission periodic third-party monitoring of the consumer marking commitment of this voluntary code in the EU, starting in 2022. The compliance rate will be shared with the Commission.
Consumer awareness raising to effect positive change
- EDANA, with the support of the undersigned companies, commits to run effective and measured consumer awareness campaigns.
- By the end of 2021, EDANA will devise and launch a pilot project in The Netherlands that seeks to change consumer behavior with regard to the disposal of wet wipes. It is foreseen that a similar initiative will follow in Belgium and other selected EU countries soon after.
- The pilot project will include consumer surveys on labelling awareness and behaviours to assess impact.
- This pilot scheme will provide insight for Member States in their implementation of the SUP Directive provisions relating to consumer awareness raising due to be implemented in 2024.
- To ensure effectiveness, it is foreseen that these campaigns will be devised in conjunction with key third parties, such as the European Commission, water bodies, NGOs and retailers.
- This will mean discussion and disclosure of detail on the number of consumers surveyed, the scope and range of awareness campaigns, and the frequency of label monitoring between all parties. This will allow for comprehensive assessment of impact.
- EDANA will establish a fund to cover related costs, financed by the undersigned companies.
Proactive stakeholder engagement
- EDANA will seek to ensure that non-member companies are made aware of the Code and are encouraged to comply.
- EDANA will publish details of the initiative, including the participating companies, on the EDANA website
- EDANA will contact all relevant NGOs, wastewater bodies, retailers, and national and regional authorities to ensure awareness of the code of practice.