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INDA/EDANA announce new third edition of flushability guidelines



Published September 12, 2013
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EDANA and INDA, the two global associations of the nonwovens industries announced the full release of a new third edition of the Guidance Document for Assessing Flushability of Nonwoven Disposable Products. The guidelines, first developed in 2008 and last updated in 2009, define what is flushable and establish a “Do Not Flush” symbol for products not meeting the Guidelines in order to prevent the disposal of products down the toilet which are unsuitable for this system.

The third edition, complete with detailed test methods, is a product of the continued efforts by the nonwovens industry to help reduce the amount of non-flushable materials thrown incorrectly in the wastewater stream. It also strives to educate consumers on the proper disposal route for nonwoven disposable products through better labeling.

The new third edition streamlines and improves on the previous two editions by adopting a straight line approach to the assessment of a product. This approach requires a yes/no answer to each of the technical questions which need to be answered in the affirmative to establish flushability, eliminating some of the ambiguity in previous editions. The third edition also now directly addresses an additional wastewater infrastructure concern with the inclusion of a municipal sewage pump test and disintegration test.

The two associations have gathered feedback from stakeholders, including wastewater authorities, and industry, which have led to the changes in the current edition, and the updated Code of Practice with enhanced labeling requirements for products that do not meet the guidelines. For companies assessing nonwoven disposable products, all products are now subject to a much more straight-forward process, with the number of tests in the technical assessment been reduced from twenty three to seven core tests.  The revised protocol means a much more approachable testing process in the current edition, while keeping the rigorous assessment of products to ensure the continued health of our waterways.

“Over the last few years, the work undertaken by our two associations has resulted in a simpler, easy to follow assessment to determine if a product is flushable or not,” says Dave Rousse, INDA president. “We are taking a more rigorous approach where products must pass all seven tests to be labeled as flushable."

“The third edition addresses two important concerns raised by wastewater operators with the addition of a Municipal Sewage Pump Test and a Disintegration Test,” says Pierre Wiertz, general manager EDANA. “It also includes an updated Code of Practice in which for the first time, includes minimum size requirements for the “Do Not Flush” symbol."

Companies who use the guidelines to assess flushability can ensure that under normal conditions, products that are best disposed of via the wastewater system will pass safely through the sewers and wastewater treatment system. They can also be sure products that do not meet the guidelines are properly labeled “Do Not Flush”.

Rousse adds, “For those companies who are not using the Guidelines and Code of Practice today, we strongly encourage them to get on board. Adopting the Guidelines and Code of Practice is the right thing to do for our environment and will benefit local communities as well.”

“Because this new edition is simpler to use, less costly and easier to implement compared to previous versions, we are confident more and more companies globally will embrace the Guidelines and Code of Practice. In doing so, we can best deliver our part of the solution towards reducing non-flushable material in the wastewater stream, educate consumers and thwart potentially harmful legislation," says Wiertz.