Waitrose wet wipes certified “Fine to Flush” in UK first

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Waitrose the first UK grocer to achieve
Two of Waitrose's own-label wet wipes break down quickly & easily in the sewer system
// Waitrose becomes the first UK grocer to win “Fine to Flush” certification for own-label wet wipes
// The certification is a standard introduced in January this year by Water UK
// The initiative is the latest in Waitrose’s war on plastic and waste

Waitrose has become the first British supermarket to have its own-label wet wipes certified as “Fine to Flush” by Water UK.

Waitrose’s fragrance-free moist toilet tissue refills and its lightly-fragranced moist toilet tissue refills have been given the certifications, a standard introduced in January this year by Water UK, which represents water companies across the country.

The two products, which are both plastic-free, are available in stores from today and packs will soon carry the “Fine to Flush” logo.

This means they have both passed the necessary tests that prove they break down quickly and easily in the sewer system.

The tests are carried out by WRc, the independent technical experts who developed the flushability standards in conjunction with Water UK.

Waitrose said it would work towards meeting guidelines to ensure the rest of its own-label flushable wipes met the “Fine to Flush” certification.

The grocer added that wipes which are not designed to be flushed are already clearly labelled “do not flush”.

“Wet wipes have become increasingly commonplace in UK households so it’s an issue we have to tackle and have been working on with our suppliers for some time,” Waitrose head of corporate social responsibility Tor Harris said.

“We know we still have more work to do, but this is a big step forward and gives us a platform to build on for the rest of our range.”

Marine Conservation Society called on other retailers to follow suit.

Dr Laura Foster, the group’s head of clean seas, said: “It is great news that Waitrose & Partners has listened to the Marine Conservation Society’s call for own brand wipes labelled as ‘flushable’ to pass the water industry ‘Fine to Flush’ standard.

“We now urge not only other retailers to follow suit, but also major, international brands.

“Customers need to know that when they are instructed to flush, the product really is safe for UK sewers and won’t contribute to blockages and fatbergs.”

The new wet wipes form part of Waitrose’s growing list of initiatives to tackle waste and non-recyclable plastic.

It recently announced it was extending its Unpacked trial to new stores after a positive initial response, allowing more customers to do their grocery shopping in refillable containers.

Waitrose also became the first UK supermarket to start selling eggs from pullets, otherwise known as hens that are less than a year old, as their first eggs are considerably smaller than an ordinary hen’s egg and often go to waste.

Meanwhile, the grocer said all of its own-brand packaging will either be widely-recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2023.

This includes removing black plastic from all its own-brand products by the end of 2019 and introducing compostable ready meal packaging.

Single-use plastic bags for loose fruit and veg bags were replaced with a home compostable alternative in May and in March this year it removed all 5p single-use carrier bags.

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