At the World of Wipes conference, INDA, along with EDANA, through a joint advisory task force, introduced a third edition guidance document for assessing the flushability of nonwoven disposable products.
INDA and EDANA first began working on flushability guidelines in 2004 with a special flushability taskforce featuring 31 companies. The first set of guidelines were released in 2008 and updated in 2009. Since then, INDA and EDANA have been collaborating with the wastewater industry to advance the shared objective of reducing the amount of non-flushable material in the wastewater stream.
The new third edition streamlines and improves on previous editions. For example, it replaces the tiered approach of 23 tests with a more transparent, rigorous straight-line assessment using only seven core tests, which all must be passed to support a flushable claim. Within the framework of the third edition guidelines there is a decision tree with simple yes/no answers used to determine if a product can make a flushable claim or if it needs to display the Do Not Flush logo (see figure 1). The third edition also addresses a wastewater infrastructure concern with the inclusion of a Municipal Sewage Pump Test and a Disintegration Test.
Additionally, INDA/EDANA have updated the accompanying Code of Practice to include clearer labeling guidelines as well as a single “Do Not Flush” logo. The organizations are hopeful that more makers of wipes not designed to be flushed, such as baby wipes, adopt the use of this logo in an accelerated fashion to better inform the consumer and help address concerns about potential legislation. Dave Rousse, president of INDA describes the legislative challenge facing the wipes industry.
“There is a potential freight train coming down the tracks targeting all manufacturers and marketers of nonwoven wipe substrates, the converters they sell to, and the wipes marketers who buy from the converters,” he says. “The wastewater treatment industry is blaming the nonwoven wipes industry for the clogging of pumps in their wastewater systems.”
Already, several states including California, Maine and New Jersey have responded to clogging complaints from wastewater treatment system operators by drafting legislation—which varies by state—that would dictate what could be called “flushable” or how wipes should be labeled or both.
“INDA’s efforts, along with EDANA’s in Europe, have temporarily ‘tabled’ most legislation as we advance our Flushability Guidelines and exert an effort to get all in the wipes supply chain to follow the Guidelines and adopt the labeling practices of the accompanying Code of Practice,” Rousse adds. “Not doing so could create unnecessary burdens for all participants in the wipes market. Unfortunately, not all wipes makers and marketers are INDA/EDANA members, so we need to use additional resources, such as industry press, to get the message to them that not following the Guidelines could place their business in danger. Our studies have shown that wipes that meet the guidelines are not the cause of clogs in pumping stations. Rather, paper towels and other items represent the highest volume of materials found when pumps are unclogged. However, we do know that baby wipes and some other personal care wipes, none of which were designed to be flushed, can often get flushed. These products need to display the Do Not Flush logo prescribed in our Code of Practice.”
Because the wipes market is continuously evolving as new players enter the market each year with creative and innovative new products addressing ever expanding needs, it is increasingly important that these companies and their substrate suppliers become aware of the guidelines and adopt them, he adds. “Thus the need for an aggressive awareness campaign, which we at INDA and EDANA will continue to conduct.”
More information: www.inda.org or www.edana.org.
Sellars Nonwovens has launched Flushabies, a fully dispersible and flushable dry wipe product with potential in the guest towel, hospitality and medical cloth businesses. Five years in development, the patent pending technology behind Flushabies is a modification of Sellars’ DRC (double recrepe) technology, which has been used in the wipes market for decades. The dispersible wipe was recently certified as flushable after passing INDA- and EDANA-endorsed testing services, including the Municipal Sewage Pump Test, in North America and Europe.
Featuring what is known as temporary wet strength, Flushabies begin to break down after being submerged in water for five to 10 minutes with agitation, including the effects of a standard toilet system, according to vice president of sales Dick Goepel. The product will fully break down to pulp, enabling it to pass through a standard septic screen.
A wet wipe version of Flushabies is in reportedly in development.