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Millions of taxpayer dollars spent removing ‘flushable’ wipes from Sydney’s sewers

The ACCC has lost an appeal in the Federal Court contending ‘flushable’ wipes are misleading consumers.

In 2019, the consumer watchdog took Kleenex manufacturer Kimberly-Clark to court over the wipes, which they argue pose the risk of clogging pipes and therefore cannot be marketed as ‘flushable’.

Sydney Water Head of Customer Hub Darren Cash revealed the cost of removing the wipes from the wastewater system tops $8 million annually.

He told Deborah Knight the court’s decision was “disappointing”, and based on a technicality.

“[Wipes] don’t break down like toilet paper. They stay in the system, right through to our treatment plants in some cases … and cause all manner of problems.

“Often they won’t make it that far, they’ll get caught in our pipes. They cause a large blockage … which then causes an overflow, which impacts on our waterways and environment.”

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Image: Getty