Not long after the ruling, INDA and EDANA, the world’s two largest nonwovens-related trade shows, spoke out in favor of this ruling (see Top of the News, page 12). Both associations have worked tirelessly for more than a decade to ensure that wipes are clearly and properly labeled in order to help consumers make wise decisions about their disposal. The actions of Pental were completely against every action and communication both INDA and EDANA have made in regard to flushability.
During the course of the past decade both INDA and EDANA, along with key members of the wipes industry supply chain, have developed rigorous testing procedures that Pental’s product did not pass. Therefore, the product should have been clearly marked with a Do Not Flush logo and consumers should by no means been led to believe they could safely pass through the sewage system. In fact, labeling—and by extension consumer education—is an important part of the associations’ efforts.
Part of the motivation behind these efforts is reversing undo blame on the flushable wipes market that they are responsible for millions of dollars in damages in sewage systems around the world. While, most of the blame can be made on items like paper towels, facial tissue, cooking grease and wipes that have not passed the flushability standards, local governments have worked to blame the flushable wipes market for these woes. Some municipalities, like Washington D.C. have even taken steps to ban of the sale of wipes marketed as flushable.
According to the associations, most companies in the business of selling wipes have complied with testing and labeling practices put forth by the industry and they are confident that no wipe that has passed the testing criteria has contributed to sewer clogs. However, the noncompliance of these rules, like Pental’s actions, can have significant ramifications for the entire wipes industry by adding to a misconception already attached to wipes.
This is likely why INDA and EDANA voiced their public approval for the AAAC ruling. Flushable wipes has been an important topic in the wipes industry for many years. The testing requirements have gone through many reiterations and the fourth edition of the guidelines will be released by INDA soon. No doubt more developments on the wipes industry fight against flushability claims will be presented this month at the World of Wipes Conference in Chicago, IL.