Friends of the Earth has released the results of its poll on flushable wipes, which found that a majority of Canadians do not believe manufacturers’ claims about the “flushability” of disposable wipes.

Over eight in 10 Canadians (85 per cent) said manufacturers of flushable products are the least credible when it comes to trusting the source of information on “flushability” of disposable wipes.

On the other hand, the poll found that more than nine out of 10 Canadians (91 per cent) trust that scientists or wastewater engineers provide them with credible information about whether it is safe or not to flush products labeled as “flushable” down their toilet.

Oracle Poll Research conducted the 2,000 person national poll on behalf of Friends of the Earth Canada in May 2019 (margin of error for total N=2000 sample is ± 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20).

“These findings are a vote of confidence by Canadians for the professionals who do the hard and dirty work of keeping our toilets flushing and water pumping and against the so called “flushable wipes,” manufacturers, and their ad agencies,” said Beatrice Olivastri, chief executive officer of Friends of the Earth.

These findings underscore the importance of the study by researchers from Ryerson University on flushable wipes. The study tested 101 products and found only toilet paper met the wastewater industry standard for “flushability.”

Pictured: Barry Orr, lead author of the report on Defining ‘Flushability’ for Sewer Use. He presented the results of the report at an event hosted by Ryerson University on April 4, 2019.
Pictured: Barry Orr from Ryerson University. He was the lead author of the report Defining ‘Flushability’ for Sewer Use. He presented the results of the report at an event hosted by Ryerson University on April 4, 2019.

Advertising and “flushability” claims on packaging for twenty-three of the studied wipes are misleading and fraudulent, according to Olivastri. “Canadians should not be bamboozled into thinking these products are safe to flush into septic systems or municipal sewers.”

Canadians when asked whether they think disposable wipes are safe to flush down toilets are polarized in their assessment with slightly more than half saying no (53 per cent) while the rest of respondents say yes (28 per cent) or unsure (18 per cent). Confusion or lack of awareness is elevated in Ontario (23 per cent), Alberta (21 per cent), and Manitoba and Saskatchewan (20 per cent). British Columbians were mostly like to say no (68 per cent) or unsafe to flush, followed by almost 6 out of 10 Quebecers (59 per cent) while almost half of respondents of the Maritimes considered the disposable wipes safe to flush (49 per cent).

The youngest respondents (between the ages of 18 and 34) were most likely to feel that disposable wipes are unsafe to flush down toilets (71 per cent) while among respondents that are 55 years of age and over, only 30 per cent see the disposable wipes as unsafe.

The full report on the poll can be read here. Additional details can be found here.


  1. Interesting research and findings. We should all be concerned by what all manufacturers are telling us about their products. Some proof of claims should be mandatory.


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