Washinton D.C. Wet Wipe Law Takes Effect January 01, 2018 13:04

A Washington D.C. wet wipe law took effect on New Year’s Day 2018.

washington dc wet wipe law

The D.C. Wet Wipe Law regulates the labeling of moist flushable toilet wet wipes by banning the sale of "flushable" wipes within city limits unless the maker of the particular brand of wipes can support the claim that the wipes are indeed flushable.

What does "Flushable" mean in DC Wet Wipe Law?

"Flushable" does not simply mean that bum wipes go down the drain when you flush the toilet, but that they break apart soon after being flushed, and therefore, do not end up clogging D.C.'s sewer system.

Since first introduced to the market, manufacturers of bathroom wet wipes have been fast and loose with their definition of the word "flushable" leading to costly problems at wastewater treatment plants and elsewhere; costs that are passed on to tax payers, of course.

While the D.C. wet wipe law does not ban fanny wet wipes per se, it requires them to pass a test demonstrating that they readily break apart after being flushed. 

The DC wet wipe law, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2018 defines a flushable wipe as one that disperses in a short period of time after flushing, is not buoyant, and does not contain plastic or any other material that does not readily degrade.

It prevents manufacturers from labeling their product as “flushable” unless it meets those "flush test" requirements, and it requires manufacturers of nonflushable wipes to communicate “clearly and conspicuously” on the packaging "Do not flush."

In short, the Washington D.C. wet wipe law bans the word “flushable” from the wipes’ packaging unless the wipes pass  the "flush test" demonstrating that they will properly dissolve in the sewer system after being flushed away.

If the product fails the "flush test," its manufacturer must label the package with verbiage stating "do not flush."

DC Wet Wipe Law does not apply to Kimberly-Clark Fanny Wipes

Kimberly-Clark, a large manufacturer of fanny wet wipes, sued the city of Washington D.C. contesting the new law and got a favorable ruling on December 22, 2017 when Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction that prevents officials from enforcing the law against Kimberly-Clark, and only Kimberly-Clark.

The law, requiring the "flush test" and required verbiage can still be applied to other wet wipe companies.

According to an article in the Washington Post, Judge Boasberg wrote the following in his ruling:

“Lurking beneath this city’s streets lies a purported scourge of our sewer system,” invoking the threat of certain kinds of wet wipes that “unwitting consumers might blithely flush” but that “bind together in the subterranean realm.” He also added that his decision did not mean “the District’s ‘Protect Your Pipes’ campaign is a pipe dream.”


Wipes Clog Pipes and Have a Negative Environmental Impact

The D.C. wet wipe law is intended to address a problem city officials across the U.S. have been dealing with for some time - The problem of "wipes clogging pipes."

Most wet wipes do not disintegrate and can clog sewer systems and wastewater treatment plants. They congeal with grease and oils leading to problems that can be expensive and time-consuming to fix. Expenses that are passed on to taxpayers.

In some parts of the world wet wipes are washing up on beaches.

Much has also been made on the Internet of so-called “fatbergs” that cost tens of thousands of dollars to clear from pipes.  And as of this writing, one of these fatbergs is on its way to becoming  a museum exhibit.

dc wet wipe law museum fatberg

What do you think about all this?

In their lawsuit, Kimberly-Clark alleged that the D.C. Wet WIpe Law was unconstitutional because it sought to regulate businesses outside the city and would force companies that considered their wipes to be flushable to label them otherwise.

So, all a company has to do is "consider their wipes to be flushable?" We do not believe that is a high enough standard and creates a slippery slope for other companies to make similar "considerations" that run counter to the welfare of the community. What do you think? For more on the judge's ruling, you can see this article at BizJournals.com.

We believe we have a better solution...Fanny Clean Wet Wipe Alternative!

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