Watchdog: Kleenex's not so flushable cloths

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 27 April 2016

As featured in AdNews magazine, Watchdog is that mighty defender of consumers against BS marketing and advertising claims.

This week Watchog goes up against Kleenex, who is claiming its flushable cleansing cloths break down through sewerage and water systems after flushing, although Australian water service providers are not convinced.

AdNews: I’ve been buying flushable wipes for a while now, but I read today they aren’t actually flushable?

Kleenex: Our wipes meet the industry standards and regulations set by the government. Where did you read they aren’t flushable?

AdNews: I read a report saying the wipes cause blockages.

Kleenex: Mainly those blockages are caused by baby wipes that aren’t supposed to be put down the toilet and they are put into the same category as flushable wipes. What report was it?

AdNews: Sydney Water said they removed more than 1000 tonnes of wet wipe materials.

Kleenex: We’re working with Sydney Water and many other companies regarding their findings. We can’t say anything about it at this stage, but I can assure you that the wipes meet the industry standards and that’s all we can follow.

AdNews: Do you think there should be a warning on the packaging saying they do not disintegrate like toilet paper?

Kleenex: We just go by whatever the government says. If you want more information I’ll get your details and get someone to call you back.

Final reckoning

Consumers are told on the packaging that these wipes are “flushable,” which would lead consumers to assume they can be tossed in the toilet. However, reports have found that these wipes are wreaking havoc on Australia’s plumbing and waterways. Is Kleenex to blame? If its product meets the current industry guidelines, maybe it’s time the government cleaned up its act.

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