The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) and Standards Australia have been collaborating with a committee of industry experts to develop a National Standard for what can be flushed down the toilet.

WSAA Executive Director, Adam Lovell, said, “We know blockages caused by wipes and other products disrupt customer services, create extra costs for water utilities and customers, and impact the environment through sewage overflows.

“The recent court decision in the case between the ACCC and Kimberly-Clark highlighted the need for an appropriate standard for Australia, and WSAA is leading the development of an Australian Standard for Flushable Products.

“Standards Australia has confirmed the development of this standard and its importance given recent increases in blockages experienced by water utilities and customers across Australia. 

“Until the standard is finalised, we advise consumers to only flush the 3Ps – Pee, Poo and toilet Paper! Recently, we were excited to see messaging in Woolworths stores that helps communicate to customers that only toilet paper can be flushed.”

Head of Stakeholder Engagement at Standards Australia, Daniel Chidgey, said, “Debates around what is appropriate to flush were only heightened by COVID-19 and the toilet paper shortages that came with it.

“In April of this year, Sydney Water reported a 22 per cent increase in blockages as people utilised alternatives to toilet paper such as wet wipes.

“What is flushed down the toilet should not adversely affect wastewater collection and treatment systems. This new standard has potential to be an important addition to the sector and will aim to make it more clear what material can be put down the toilet.”

Mr Lovell said, “The Australian standard will include pass/fail criteria along with appropriate labelling requirements and is being developed by manufacturers, water utilities, peak bodies and consumer groups.”.

The required testing for the standard development has been impacted by COVID-19 and a draft is expected to be released for public consultation in the next few months.

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