Northumbrian Water donates bins to urge North East not to flush wet wipes

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NORTHUMBRIAN Water is launching its new ‘Bin the Wipe’ campaign and giving away more than 1,400 bins to encourage customers not to use their toilets as a bin.

The big bin giveaway incentive is a first for the company, which has found that 54% of households in the UK don’t have a bin in their bathroom to dispose of things like wet wipes, and over half of householders keep wipes in their bathroom.

By giving customers a bin, Northumbrian Water is hoping that this will help to encourage small behavioural changes to people’s daily habits with wet wipes being the biggest cause of blockages for the company.

Richard Warneford, Northumbrian Water’s Wastewater Director, said: “Wet wipes are one of the biggest causes of blockages for us and we really need our customers’ help – they can make a massive difference by making one simple change and Bin the Wipe.

“Despite wet wipes being promoted as ‘flushable’ they rarely are, as they may leave your toilet bowl when flushed but can clog up householders’ plumbing and can also cause blockages in our network of sewer pipes.

“Blockages can have devastating consequences to people’s homes being flooded and the environment being polluted, which is so saddening to see, so please Bin the Wipe.”

Wrongly flushed items, such as wet wipes, are a nightmare for everyone as they can cause all sorts of problems inside customers’ homes, to communities and for the environment.

The incentive will be trialled first in the TS10 postal area of Redcar, which is one of the worst areas for blockages in the North East.

In 2019, Northumbrian Water cleared more than 15,600 blockages within its 29,000 kilometres of sewer network across the North East with around 64% caused by wet wipes.

The top ten hot spot postal areas in the North East and a breakdown of blockages found in 2019:

1. NE34 – South Shields (460 blockages)

2. NE5 – Newcastle upon Tyne (323 blockages)

3. DL1 – Darlington (309 blockages)

4. NE23 – Northumberland (277 blockages)

5. NE28 – North Tyneside (273 blockages)

6. TS19 – Stockton-on-Tees (273 blockages)

7. TS10 – Redcar and Cleveland (270 blockages)

8. DH6 – County Durham (264 blockages)

9. DH9 – County Durham (263 blockages)

10. SR8 – County Durham (261 blockages)

The impact of blockages can cause sewer flooding to homes, businesses, and outdoor areas, as well as odour problems and can pollute the environment, potentially harming wildlife.

Rachael Caldwell, Area Environment Manager for the Environment Agency, said: “When you flush the toilet and put down the seat, you don’t always stop and think that your actions could have repercussions to your home, local community or the wider environment further down the line. Well, this could be the case if wet wipes are flushed down the loo.

“We are always happy to support a campaign that can help our environment and inform people about the importance of what can and can’t go down the toilet.

“This resulting form of flooding and pollution is totally avoidable, and putting the wet wipes into your bathroom bin can be the simple solution.”