Standards Australia is now seeking consultation on the draft standard DR AS/NZS 5328, Flushable Products. There will be a 9-week public comment period in which the wider public can provide feedback.
The draft standard defines criteria for material that can be flushed down the toilet, aiming to provide clarity around what products can be classified as ‘flushable’. The need for the standard rose following years of contention around what can be flushed down the toilet. The issue was amplified at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with people resorting to alternatives to toilet paper.
The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) received reports of increases in blockages of between 20 and 60 percent in 2020, with people flushing materials like paper towels and wet wipes.
"We know wipes and other items that shouldn’t be flushed are an issue for water utilities around the globe, disrupting customer services, creating extra costs for water utilities and customers, and impacting the environment through sewage overflows", said Adam Lovell, Executive Director WSAA.
It provides test methods for determining the ‘flushability’ of a product and disposal labelling requirements for easy visibility for consumers. Where a product is suitable for toilet flushing, it will have a distinct indication on the packaging.
“In recent years, what constitutes a flushable product has been a source of contention across Australia, so this draft standard has great potential to be an important addition to the wastewater sector,” said Roland Terry-Lloyd, Head of Standards Development at Standards Australia.
Stakeholders from consumer interest groups, water utilities, local government organisations, suppliers, manufacturers, and technical experts have been involved in the development of the highly anticipated standard.
DR AS/NZS 5328 will be in the public commenting period for nine weeks from August 30 to November 1 via Connect.