21 July 2017
Consumer group CHOICE has carried out new testing on three common "flushable" wipes and found the products still pose a blockage threat to household pipes, which could leave consumers facing hefty plumbing bills in the thousands of dollars.
"It beggars belief that even though these products have already landed Kleenex in hot water with the regulator, it's still trying to convince consumers to flush a reformulated version of these wet wipes," says CHOICE's Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
"To make matters worse Aldi and Sorbent have also joined the flushable wipe frenzy with their own potentially pipe-blocking products.
"Our test clearly shows that Aldi's 'flushable' Confidence Fresh wipes, Sorbent's Silky White Flushable Wipes and Kleenex's CleanRipple Flushable Wipes should not be flushed down the toilet, regardless of watery front of pack claims.
CHOICE found that after 21 hours of testing none of the wipes had broken down sufficiently to safely flush, whereas toilet paper disintegrated in a few minutes.
"Consumers rightly expect that a product labelled 'flushable' won't damage their pipes or our waterways," says Mr Godfrey.
"But we believe they pose a blockage threat, particularly in the first several metres of pipe on a property, so the message is clear – keep these wipes out of your pipes.
"We tested flushable wipes in 2015 and 2016, using the 2015 findings to make a complaint to the ACCC and award Kleenex a Shonky over its flushable wipes claims.
"Following the complaint, the regulator announced it was launching legal action against Kimberly-Clark (Kleenex) and Pental (White King) late last year for allegedly making false and misleading representations that its wipes were "flushable" when this was not the case."
In addition Aldi also had a run in with the ACCC earlier this week over plans to launch Green Action Flushable Bathroom Cleaning Wipes, which forced the supermarket giant into an embarrassing recall of the product before it had even hit the shelves.
"Consumer law exists to protect consumers from harmful, misleading advertising, and we're sure that the thousands of people who joined our flushbusters campaign are pleased to see the law being used to clean up dodgy claims," Mr Godfrey says.
"It's time for manufacturers to end their grubby obsession with getting Aussies to flush these products.
"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 choice.com.au/flushbusters
Tom Godfrey, Head of Media and Spokesperson - 0430 172 669 - @choice_news
 Water Services Association of Australia, 7 September 2015
 The CHOICE test compared a number of flushable wipes products with toilet paper. The test rig simulates the pressures on the paper products in the sewer system to determine how rapidly they break down.