Wet wipe on beach Natasha Ewins

Wet wipes are one of the most common litter items we find on UK beaches.

Wet wipes can end up on our beaches and in the environment as they’re often mistakenly flushed down the toilet, rather than being disposed of in the bin.

Even wet wipes which are labelled as flushable can cause problems with blockages if they haven't met the water industry's 'Fine to Flush’ standard.


wet wipes

were found on average per 100m of beach at Great British Beach Clean 2020

What is Fine to Flush?

An official standard, introduced by Water UK, identifying which wet wipes can be flushed down toilets safely. Wet wipes are tested against the conditions of the UK's sewer system to make sure they break down and don't cause sewer blockages, fatbergs or end up on beaches.

Wet wipe on Hayle Beach Cornwall Natasha Ewins

Credit: Natasha Ewins

Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas: “By removing plastic from wet wipes we can move further away from our reliance on single-use plastics. Wet wipes should be considered similarly to items like cotton bud sticks and straws which are, in the most part, avoidable."

We’ve been calling on all high street retailers to make sure all of their own brand wet wipes either meet the ‘Fine to Flush’ standard, or are labelled ‘Do Not Flush’. We want UK governments to make it a legal requirement for products labelled as flushable to pass the ‘Fine to Flush' standard and to ban single use plastic wipes.

See the results of our 2020 wet wipe survey here.

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