Thames Water launches wet wipe campaign
Thames Water has launched a new campaign urging people to stop flushing wet wipes down the toilet in a bid to reduce sewer blockages and fatbergs.
During the campaign, which uses the hashtags #FightTheFatberg and #BinIt, Thames Water customers and stakeholders will be asked to make a pledge via social media to not flush wipes down the toilet but instead put them in the bin, including the company’s CEO Steve Robertson, who kicked things off by making his own pledge.
During the four-week drive, Thames Water’s social media channels and website will display videos of an event dubbed the ‘Wet Wipe Challenge’, filmed in a busy shopping street in Reading.
Passers-by were invited to take up the challenge by shaking two bottles, one containing water and toilet paper and the other water and a wipe, and comparing the two. Most were shocked at how the wipe stayed intact instead of breaking up like the toilet paper and pledged to bin the wipes.
Throughout the campaign, there will also be online advice for customers on finding alternatives to wet wipes, videos explaining the impact of flushing wipes on the sewers and the environment and specially designed adverts on YouTube to help spread the bin it message far and wide.
Jo Charles, marketing manager at Thames Water, said: “When we speak to customers, lots of them tell us they didn’t know wipes can cause blockages and fatbergs in the sewers. We hope that by asking them to make a public pledge to bin wet wipes it will help fight the fatberg and encourage other social media users to follow suit.”
Every hour Thames Water clears five blockages from its sewer network caused by wipes, while in an average year it clears around 85,000 blockages caused by wipes and cooking fat at a cost of around £12 million. Blockages also build up in the pipes inside properties leaving owners to shoulder the costs of removal and clean-ups.
Feedback from those who took part in the ‘Wet Wipe Challenge’ included surprise that fatbergs can build up in sewers outside of the London area and that wipes do not break down when flushed.
Others questioned why wipes are allowed to be labelled as flushable, with another voicing concerns over their impact on the environment when they go to landfill.
- Thames Water Trust Fund celebrates 10th anniversary A special celebration has been held to mark the 10th anniversary of the Thames Water Trust Fund, which has helped... Read More >
- Study: 20 million UK women admit flushing sanitary products New research suggests that as many as 20 million women in the UK have flushed at least one non-biodegradable sanitary... Read More >
- £250k fine for Thames Water sewage spill Thames Water is to fund a National Trust warden and has taken other preventative measures after was slapped with a £250,000... Read More >
- Developing ideas: Thames Water's innovative sewer plan Thames Water is radically re-engineering an Oxfordshire market town's sewer network to help developers prepare for... Read More >
- Brexit, WWII, ancient artefacts: Southern Water's testing sewer project Southern Water's £2.5 million project to replace an 800m stretch of sewer main in Kent was complicated by - among other... Read More >
- Tyre microplastics pollution: Ignore it or remove it? Tyre microplastics is one of the largest sources of pervasive pollution in the water environment, yet consistently ignored... Read More >
- A data-led approach to clearing FOG Water utilities have a major challenge working with local food businesses to prevent fats, oils and grease entering the... Read More >
- Meeting the SuDS challenge A report indicates that the UK has a long way to go on implementing sustainable drainage systems, yet advice and... Read More >