Monday, April 6, 2015

Community Blog Post #7: Waste Management



The other day I was in the grocery store perusing cleaning items when it dawned on me that I should pick up toilet paper. I’m under the impression that one can never have enough toilet paper. As I found my desired brand I noticed that they had flushable wet wipes on sale. Why not? I thought to myself. Those could be beneficial and they’re flushable. And they seemed more hygienic. 


So I know that I’m writing a blog post about the bathroom but let’s just all acknowledge the fact that we all use the bathroom. Everybody poops. Me, you, celebrities, even the President. I’m sorry if you just got a visual. And sometimes, it can get pretty bad. That’s all I’ll say about the number twos. So my thrifty self decided that these flushable wipes (did I mention they were on sale?) might be a good option to have, you know for guests and what not.


But then in an instant, I realized that these wipes were not so “flushable.” And before you envision some gross sewage backup that I faced, know that it was a quick story on NPR radio that opened up my eyes to the world of moist towelette marketing. Apparently, these moist towelettes are not so flushable in the sense that while you can physically flush them, we really shouldn’t. Craig Rance, campaign communication executive of Thames River discussed that you can flush a golf ball too but it doesn’t mean you should. “The word ‘flushable’ means it won’t clog your toilet or your house, but when it gets to a sewage treatment plant, the wipes wrap around the equipment, shuts it down, and then the treatment plant workers go and manually pull these wipes down,” as states to ABC news from New York Deputy Commissioner.

Now you may be sitting there reading this post thinking “I don’t use flushable wipes, what’s it to me?” Well I’ll tell you why we should all care, regardless if we use these products or not. Our sewer systems are like arteries that can’t have any blockages. The manual labor of removing these sewer system blockages, deemed fatbergs, means more manpower, as well as more repairing and replacing sewer system equipment.

This is where the average citizen gets involved. At the rate we are going, waste management companies will need to raise water rates in order to combat these added expenses. The city of New York has spent over 18 million dollars on equipment damage expenses within the past five years (nytimes).

The time is now people. We need to educate the masses about proper waste management of moist towelettes. We need to stress the importance of not flushing them even though there is false marketing, complete with a toilet on the packaging. If you want to go a step further, you can contact your city officials in an effort to hold these companies to a more stringent guideline when it comes to advertising. But if that is too much commitment, I understand. I haven’t done that either. What I have done is educate others around me. Moist towelettes come in other forms such as baby wipes and makeup removers too. At times, word of mouth can travel faster than legislation. If we all choose to educate one person, we can make a huge difference, and save our planet, or at least, our pocketbooks.

Check out these news stories for more information:




http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/03/24/london-sewers-rance

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