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News article

16/06/2008

Nonwovens industry promotes responsible practices in making and marketing flushable products

Two international industry associations representing companies involved in the global manufacture of hygiene products containing nonwoven textiles have combined forces to launch guidelines for manufacturers to use in determining if their products are suitable for disposal via the wastewater system.
Two international industry associations representing companies involved in the global manufacture of hygiene products containing nonwoven textiles have combined forces to launch guidelines for manufacturers to use in determining if their products are suitable for disposal via the wastewater system.

The Guidance Document on the Flushability of Nonwoven Consumer Products, published by INDA and EDANA, represents the first ever initiative to provide companies with a comprehensive framework for testing products to determine their flushability. It reflects the industry’s commitment to responsible use and disposal of the products it makes and distributes.  

Speaking at the launch of the Guidance Document at the World of Wipes Conference in Chicago, Illinois, USA, Rory Holmes, President of INDA, said, “An increasingly diverse range of disposable hygiene products is now available for consumer use in the home.  Some, which address public health and hygiene considerations, may best be disposed of via the toilet.  It is important to ensure that such products can be disposed of in this way without causing problems.”    

“To date there has been no consistent approach for assessing what constitutes a ‘flushable’ nonwoven consumer product.  This lack of consistency can lead to confusion and a higher risk that products which were never intended to be flushable are disposed via the wastewater system,” said Pierre Wiertz, General Manager of EDANA.

The document is the culmination of a three year program of work sponsored by the two industry associations.  Technical experts from member companies pooled their own company expertise and drew on the advice and knowledge of experts in academia, consultant engineering and the wastewater industry to develop the recommended approach. It is a First Edition document which will be updated over time, in partnership with the wastewater industry and associated bodies, as new information comes to hand and new technologies emerge.

Pilot testing of the approach took place over a 12-month period, so that the test methods could be trialled in independent laboratories and could be further refined.  A peer review was also undertaken to ensure that the Guidance Document reflected the best available knowledge and thinking on the subject.  The peer review panel endorsed the document as a sound first step.    

“Providing technical guidance on what constitutes a flushable product is critical to ensuring compatibility of products with wastewater collection and treatment systems,” said Rory Holmes.  “Between INDA and EDANA, we represent over 90 percent of the total volume of nonwoven consumer products on the market in North America and Europe.  We will encourage all our members to use this flushability assessment approach with the goal that before long the Guidance Document will be the industry norm for assessing the flushability of nonwoven consumer products.”

“The development of the Guidance Document is one aspect of the industry’s work in this important area,” said Pierre Wiertz. “Concise, clear and consistent communications about whether products should be flushed down the toilet is equally important.  Our members have agreed to develop a universal symbol for on-pack labelling which will provide consumers with at-a-glance information about whether the product is appropriate for disposal via the wastewater system.”

The Guidance Document is available to all members of INDA and EDANA at no cost.  Non-members will be able to purchase the Guidelines for $3000/€2000.

For more information contact:
Peggy Blake
Director of Marketing
INDA
1-919-233-1210 Ext 117
pblake@inda.org

Jean-Michel Anspach
EDANA Technical and Education Director
jean-michel.anspach@edana.org
+32 2 740 18 24                 
Notes for Editors:
  1. INDA is a trade association based in Cary, N.C in North America which represents the nonwovens industry. For more information see www.inda.org.
  2. EDANA is the Brussels based association and voice of the nonwovens and related industries. For more information see www.edana.org.
  3. Nonwovens are engineered fabrics that are sheet or web structures bonded together by entangling fibre or filaments (and by perforating films) mechanically, thermally or chemically. They are flat, porous sheets that are made directly from separate fibres or from molten plastic or plastic film.  They are not made by weaving or knitting and do not require conversion of the fibres to yarn. In consumer hygiene products nonwoven fabrics provide specific functions such as absorbency, liquid repellence, resilience, stretch, softness and strength.
  4. Consumer hygiene products containing nonwovens include wet wipes, moist toilet tissue, baby and adult diapers and feminine sanitary protection products.  Only a very small percentage of consumer hygiene products containing nonwovens are designed to be, or are marketed as, flushable.
We invite you to visit Edana website and access the executive summary of Flushability Guidance Document: http://www.edana.org.

For further information please contact:
Catherine Lennon, Communications Director, edana
Telephone: +32 2 734 93 10 / Fax: +32 2 733 35 18
E-mail: Catherine.lennon@edana.org
Website: www.edana.org

or

Daniela Cerovic, Communications Assistant, EDANA
Telephone: +32 2 740 18 22 / Fax: +32 2 733 35 18
E-mail: Daniela.cerovic@edana.org
Website: www.edana.org
EDANA | Avenue Herrmann Debroux 46-B-1160 Brussels, Belgium | Tel: +32 2 734 93 10