Col Hester from Urban Utilities at the Scientific Analytical Services Laboratory

The first officially certified flushable products to meet a new national standard are now on supermarket shelves in Australia, following world-leading flushability testing.

Urban Utilities is one of three companies globally carrying out the testing at its Innovation Centre in Brisbane, which gives products the right to display a new logo indicating they can be safely flushed down the loo.

Urban Utilities’ Head of Environmental Solutions, Col Hester, said the utility recently finished testing a brand of wipes which met the rigorous new flushability criteria.

“There are seven tests which include having to travel through a replica household drain line and urban pump station, and a slosh box test, where wet wipes are placed in tubs which rock back and forth to see how effectively they break down,” Mr Hester said.

“If a product passes all tests its company can make a flushability claim for the product to display a flushable logo, which we recommend shoppers look out for so they can be confident the product will break down after it has been flushed.”

Mr Hester said the world-leading standard for flushable products was established in 2022.

“This was an important step because we know wet wipes can cause costly blockages in the wastewater network and people’s household pipes, which can lead to unexpected and often hefty plumbing bills,” Mr Hester said.

“We already have another nine products to test in the coming months so it’s great to see that businesses are really trying to do the right thing.”

Urban Utilities spokesperson Emily Arnold said Urban Utilities removed around 120t of wipes – the weight of around 60 cars – from its wastewater network every year.

“Flushed wet wipes, tissues or other products can also combine with fats, oils and greases in the network to create huge ‘fatbergs’ that need to be removed,” Ms Arnold said.

“We craned a record-breaking 500kg, 6m long fatberg out of the sewer network in suburban Brisbane that was full of wet wipes which had been flushed.”

Shoppers are urged to avoid flushing products that claim to be flushable but don’t carry a flushable logo referencing AS/NZS 5328.

“Unless the products feature the new flushable logo, we encourage everyone to stick to flushing the three P’s – pee, poo and paper,” Ms Arnold said.

“It will help save you a potentially costly plumbing bill, while also protecting the environment.”

Featured image: Col Hester from Urban Utilities at the Scientific Analytical Services Laboratory. Courtesy of Urban Utilities.

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