In May 2019, Friends of the Earth Canada, represented by Ecojustice, filed an application seeking an investigation by the Competition Bureau into false and misleading claims made by the manufacturers of 23 so-called flushable wipes and other single-use products. The application asked the Competition Bureau to investigate and levy fines for false and misleading advertising in the amount of $230 million.
Over the summer more than 3,200 concerned Canadians signed the petition to the Competition Bureau regarding false and misleading advertising of “flushable” wipes.
We’re happy to report that August 19, 2019 the Competition Bureau advised our Ecojustice lawyer they are proceeding with their inquiry. Great news!
While they’re convenient, using these single-use products made of plastics and/or synthetic materials has grave environmental consequences in addition to real costs to municipal taxpayers. Concerned and informed Canadians can make a difference by refusing to buy and flush these products.
Friends of the Earth is continuing to track “flushable” products with misleading and false claims. You can help by finding other products that are labelled “flushable” and sending us a photo – we need this intelligence to understand what’s being put on the market and what additional testing is needed.
About “flushable” wipes:
- Single-use “flushable” wipes are a source of serious expense for managers of municipal water works and taxpayers, because they clog pumps, screens, filters and pumps;
- “Flushable” wipes add at least $250 million dollars in additional repairs and maintenance each year to municipal sewer systems in Canada;
- “Flushable” wipes lead to putrid sewage clogs and can form the core of fatbergs, large masses of solid waste consisting of congealed fat and personal care products that block pipes and cause flooding;
- Single-use “flushable” wipes can end up in sewage waste converted to biosolids thereby contributing plastic and synthetic fibers to agricultural lands;
- Read our list of the “Top Ten Damages From Flushable Wipes Across Canada”
The single-use wipes, which include baby wipes and personal wipes, sold under the Cottonelle, Charmin and President’s Choice brands and others, are marketed as “flushable” and safe to be flushed down toilets. But a recent study by Ryerson University’s Urban Water program on behalf of the Municipal Enforcement Sewer Use Group demonstrated that all the products cited in the application failed to meet internationally recognized criteria for flushability. The study examined more than 101 products, and all items except toilet paper failed to pass tests for drain line clearance and disintegration. Many of the products are also composed of plastic or regenerated cellulose.