To flush or not to flush? New standard aims to give an answer
In recent years, what constitutes a flushable product has been a source of contention across Australia. This was exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic as restrictions saw people search for toilet paper alternatives which resulted in an increase in blockages and fatbergs.
DR AS/NZS 5328 which is currently in development will aim to outline methods for determining products suitable to be flushed down a domestic toilet and establish appropriate consumer disposal labelling requirements.
Much of the issues surround wet wipes or other similar products that are unable to break down when flushed.
“Debates around what is appropriate to flush were only heightened by COVID-19 and the toilet paper shortages that came with it. In April of this year, Sydney Water reported a 22% increase in blockages as people utilised alternatives to toilet paper such as wet wipes,” Standards Australia head of stakeholder engagement Daniel Chidgey says.
To help provide clarity around this issue, Standards Australia has been working alongside a committee of experts representing the water and waste services industry to develop an Australian Standard.
“What is flushed down the toilet should not adversely affect wastewater collection and treatment systems. This new standard has potential to be an important addition to the sector and will aim to make it more clear what material can be put down the toilet,” Daniel adds.
Waster Services Association of Australia executive director Adam Lovell says that he hopes this new standard will bring much needed clarity on this issue to the Australian plumbing industry and consumers.
“In the meantime, we advise individuals to only flush the 3Ps – Pee, Poo and Paper,” he says.
Daniel ends by saying Standards hopes to finalise the work and bring it to the Australian public as soon as possible.