The International Standards Organization (ISO) has struck a working group to develop a standard for flushable wipes. The standard would provide testing protocols for manufacturers to follow in order to be able to market their products with a ‘safe to flush’ approval from the ISO.
The standard will test for distintegration capabilities, organic or non-organic material, and biodegradability. The goal is not only to protect both private and public wastewater infrastructure but also to ensure protection of the environment.
Flushable products would be comprised of wet paper and not contain any plastic components or residues. Flushable products would only include personal care items like wipes, which have been very controversial for the past couple of decades. They would not include cleansing wipes used for household cleaning or disinfection. Wipes containing disinfectants and other chemicals would not be considered safe to flush.
The wipes must disintegrate to the point that they clear household plumbing, settle out in the tankage or settling chambers, do not foul pumps, are biodegradable and contain no plastics or chemicals and other components of concern.
Other agencies and countries have testing protocols already in place and those testing protocols will be used to inform the work of the ISO. One of the agencies already testing products claiming to be flushable is the International Water Services Flushability Group. Products carrying their certification have been rigorously tested to ensure they meet strict criteria in order to be able to claim that they are flushable.