‘Be good a**holes’
Environmental organisation responds to ASA ruling that Andrex wet wipe ‘flushable’ ad is misleading
Published: 17 October 2019
This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned an Andrex advert after ruling the claim that its product was ‘flushable’ was ‘misleading’.
Text on andrex.co.uk stated ‘Let’s talk about ‘flushability’’. The web page featured a logo headed ‘flushable’, with ‘Look for this label!’ written underneath.
Further text stated: ‘At Kimberly-Clark we test all our products to make sure they pass all INDA and EDANA industry standards (they’re the international associations serving the nonwovens and related industries that set guidelines on flushability of wet wipes). This means our flushable Washlets are specially designed to break down in moving water, so they won’t block your toilet if your sewage system is well maintained and you follow the directions on the packaging.’
The ASA concluded ruled that the claim ‘flushable’ was misleading, and that the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising). The ASA stated that the ad must not appear again in its current form.
The full ASA ruling can be read here.
‘Water UK is very clear – wipes manufacturers should not label or sell products advertised as ‘flushable’ if they don’t pass the official ‘Fine to Flush’ standard. Our research shows that wipes can be a major contributor to sewer blockages, and customers have been left confused by wipes labelled ‘flushable’. If a wipe doesn’t have the official ‘Fine to Flush’ label we do not regard it as flushable, and it should go in the bin not the toilet.
‘We look forward to working with Kimberly-Clark as they seek to meet the ‘Fine to Flush’ standard for their products.’
Water UK’s director of corporate affairs
Plastic in wet wipes
90% of wet wipes on the market contain plastic and are therefore non-biodegradable.
Despite their naming, fatbergs are in fact made up of 93% of wet wipes and just 0.5% fat and are responsible for blocking the nation’s sewage systems.
In 2018 the UK used over 10.8 billion wet wipes, and on average each of us will use around 38,000 over our lifetime.
‘For Kimberley Clarke we reserve this remark – be a good a**hole and get on board with the water industry’s ‘Fine to Flush’ standard so customers know for sure that they can flush your products and not contribute to a big, and pretty disgusting, problem of fat bergs and plastic pollution that a lot of wet wipes contribute to.’
City to Sea’s campaigns manager
Once flushed, wipes clog our pipes and sewers, contributing to giant ‘fatbergs’ that lead sewage systems to overflow. They then spill into waterways and seas and inevitably pollute our oceans with plastics and sewage.
In 2018 the Marine Conservation Society recorded over 14 wet wipes per 100 metres of coastline – a rise of 700% over the last decade.
‘All across the news we are seeing people take a stand to look after our planet. It’s time we all start taking responsibility for our actions and that starts with being a good a**hole. It’s only one tiny change we can all make which goes a long way in protecting our oceans. I didn’t think I’d ever feel so passionate to take on the role of a talking a**hole.’
Lord of the Rings actor
The animated a**hole
City to Sea, a plastic pollution campaigning organisation, has collaborated with Lord of the Rings actor Andy Serkis to make a stand against the use of wet wipes and their damaging impact on the planet.
The short film sees Andy Serkis take on the role of an animated talking a**hole, literally, to encourage people to make a change in their habits.
City to Sea is calling on the public to stop flushing wet wipes down the toilet and to only flush the 3Ps: pee, paper and poo. The organisation advises that if you do need to use wet wipes, always put them in the bin and not down the toilet. Or even better, use reusable wipes or just toilet roll.
‘Many people don’t realise that most wet wipes contain plastic and should never be flushed down the loo, or that wet wipes are a major cause of fat bergs, sewers blockages and plastic pollution spilling over into our waterways. This has been, at least in part, because some manufactures have been real a**holes and refused to tell customers that their products contain loads of plastic while others have suggested products could be flushed when they really shouldn’t be.
‘Until all major manufactures come on board with plastic-free, 100% biodegradable complete product ranges that meet water industry standards, we will continue to advocate the much simpler message for customers to don’t believe the wipe and only flush pee, paper and poo.’
City to Sea’s campaigns manager