Government has stepped up action to tackle harmful plastics and clean up our waterways by challenging producers of wet wipes to address concerns over how they label their products.

Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey has written to wet wipes producers setting out her concerns about the number of wet wipes that are flushed down UK toilets – between 2.1 – 2.9 billion each year – and has asked them to reconsider the use of the word ‘flushable’ on packaging to help prevent sewer blockages and water pollution.

Wet wipes contribute to 94 percent of sewer blockages, which can lead to damage to properties and can result in sewage-related litter entering the environment. It is estimated that water companies spend £100m each year dealing with this. The Environment Secretary has told producers that labels saying ‘flushable’ or ‘fine to flush’ may encourage consumers to dispose of wipes down the toilet, rather than disposing of them responsibly in the bin.

Wet wipes producers have now been asked to set out how they will address these concerns.

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