The SecureFLUSH®/Wastewater Partnership
By John Iarocci, Vice President, R&D and Quality, Nice-Pak
Wipes have been a hot news topic for many years, as non-flushable items were identified as a contributor to backups in sewer and wastewater systems throughout the country.
The issue sparked a flurry of education efforts. As municipal wastewater facilities spent time unclogging sewers, they raised awareness through media and education efforts to stop consumers from “using their toilets like garbage cans.” Some efforts, like impactful and prominent Do Not Flush labelling, have been an important step in the right direction. But conflicting messaging from social media and education efforts can be confusing.
For many large wastewater facilities, the popular message is to flush only the “Three P’s” — pee, poo and toilet paper. On the other hand, the wipe industry relies on guidance documents like GD4 and the more rigorous IWSFG to guide flushability labelling. For the consumer, it may be difficult to decide which guidance to follow.
Innovating a Solution with Flushable Technology
At Nice-Pak, a pioneer and leader in the manufacturing and marketing of wet wipes, we knew that innovation, coupled with education, would drive responsible care for wastewater. After six years of testing and development, we commercialized Nice ’N CLEAN® SecureFLUSH® Technology Flushable Wipes, a breakthrough wet wipe that breaks apart five times faster than the leading brand of two-ply toilet paper when flushed. Since SecureFLUSH wipes met or exceeded all industry guidelines for dispersibility, it was important to engage with wastewater professionals to find ways to educate consumers about SecureFLUSH wipes and this new paradigm for flushable wipes.
Nice-Pak solicited and held productive dialogue with wastewater facilities large and small before launching SecureFLUSH wipes, using their feedback to adjust product messaging and seek out thought leaders in flushability research who could provide the important connection with consumer education.
Coming together: Partnership with Barry Orr
As part of our outreach, Nice-Pak met with wastewater expert Barry Orr of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association and found common ground in the need to raise awareness about what is truly flushable. Barry, a 25-year veteran of wastewater and the lead Canadian expert during the development of the International Water Services Flushability Group’s (IWSFG) specification, has dedicated his life to protecting sewer system infrastructure and the environment.
Recognizing the unique dispersibility of SecureFLUSH wipes, Barry was willing to advocate for the technology in hopes it will lead to further adoption. Nice-Pak, in turn, wanted to support Barry’s (CWWA’s) message on the importance of a prominent Do Not Flush symbol and the IWSFG logo.
The ideal opportunity arose on July 1st, the Responsible Flushing Alliance (RFA) designation of #FlushSmart Day. RFA creates useful, consumer-friendly information on what should and should not be flushed to help prevent wastewater issues, and the inaugural #FlushSmart Day brought those efforts to the forefront via a nationwide observance of smart flushing habits.
Together, Barry and the SecureFLUSH team scripted easy-to-remember points on what is safe to flush into a public service announcement released on #FlushSmart Day. Filmed at the Flushability Lab at Toronto Metropolitan University’s Urban Water Research Centre, the PSA educates consumers on the importance of dispersibility, and the IWSFG logo, in determining what is safe to flush.
Protecting our environment with innovation, expertise and education is a core part of Nice-Pak’s sustainability efforts. Through continued industry partnership on consumer education, coupled with advanced technology like SecureFLUSH wipes, we hope to help protect homes and wastewater facilities for years to come.