What actually makes something “flushable”?


Go to a drugstore or grocery store and it’s easy to find wipes and other supplies labeled as flushable. Her entirely right to flush those wipes down the toilet, the packaging claims. No problem.

But according to sewage treatment plants and wastewater experts, these so-called ‘flushable’ products are actually a big problem. They may be flush enough to meander through the toilet plumbing, but they don’t disintegrate before reaching the various channels, tanks, and propellers of sewage treatment plants. Instead, they clump up everything they find – clogging up the system and, in some cases, even destroying heavy machinery. Workers must regularly hand-chisel stones from the bowels of the sewage treatment plant.

The Verge The science video team went to see what damage wipes can do – and got up close and personal with the bits of fabric that cost cities millions and millions of dollars to manage every year. Watch our latest video to see what we discovered.