16 June 2016
Consumer group CHOICE has tested Kleenex's latest "flushable" wipes and found they pose a blockage threat to household pipes, which could leave consumers facing hefty plumbing bills in the thousands of dollars.
"Kleenex seems to have an obsession with trying to convince people to flush these products, when the fact is they can clog up your pipes and be rough on your wallet," says CHOICE's Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
"Although the new wipes disintegrated more than the old wipes, they didn't break down fast enough and we believe they pose a blockage threat particularly in the first several metres of pipe on the consumer's property.
"Oddly, although the company insisted their old wipes were 'flushable' they have decided to reformulate the product.
"Notwithstanding Kleenex's renewed push to get us all flushing wipes, the Australian waste water industry estimates that it is costing $15 million a year to clear blockages caused by wet wipes.
"With consumers, local councils and water services organisations struggling with the cost of removing 'fatbergs' from the sewage system, it's encouraging Kleenex is trying to clean up its act but this new product still poses problems," Mr Godfrey says.
CHOICE's latest findings come eight months after Kleenex received a Shonky Award in 2015 for claiming its Kids Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths disintegrated like toilet paper.
"Our tests last year found that after hours of testing the wipes held together, while toilet paper dissolves in a few minutes," says Mr Godfrey.
"If toilet paper is the standard of flushability to which a 'flushable' wipe should conform, Kleenex CleanRipple Flushable Wipes cannot be considered entirely safe to flush.
"Kleenex claims that their old and new wipes meet guidelines for flushability but these guidelines were written by industry, for industry."
CHOICE's latest test also reaffirmed its previous 2015 findings that the older style of wipes such as Kleenex Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths are not safe to flush.
"It's time Kleenex ended its grubby obsession with getting Aussies to flush these products," says Mr Godfrey.
"CHOICE wants these fake flushable claims off supermarket shelves as they put consumers at risk of clogged pipes and high plumbing bills."
To join the campaign visit www.choice.com.au/flushbusters. To watch the testing video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krBoaTvcpqo
 Water Services Association of Australia, 7 September 2015