TESCO is under fire for selling flushable toilet wipes which it admits on the packet are “harmful to aquatic life”.
Pictures of the environmental warning on the supermarket’s “Active Flushable Toilet Wipes Fresh” were posted online by environmental campaigners.
Green Dream Foundation complained: “It actually says on the back ‘harmful to aquatic life’. And they are Flushable! Where do they think the wipes will end up?”
They added: “These should be removed from the shelves now! Let’s all email ([email protected]) or tag Tesco and demand they remove them from the shelves.”
Tesco said the pack, which contains 40 wipes and is on sale at stores for £1, is required to bear the warning and that it does not relate to the flushing of wipes.
One photo shows the front of the Tesco branded product clearly stating that they are flushable wipes on the blue packaging.
However, the second photos shows the back of the product to say “harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects” at the top of the packaging.
One commenter Jayne Butler posted her template of the email that she sent to Tesco for others to copy.
Jayne said: “Dear sirs,
“I am making a complaint about your ‘flushable wipes’ that clearly state are harmful to aquatic life.
“I cannot believe that Tesco stores can be so environmentally stupid! Where do your researchers believe these will travel to? Our sewage system cannot take these as they again clearly state ‘kills 99% bacteria and our sewage systems rely on bacteria to deal with the waste matter.
“I therefore respectfully ask you to remove these from your shelves as they are a huge disaster for the environment. You would be better developing a product that helps rather than destroys the environment.
“I feel a need to shop elsewhere until you can confirm that you have removed this offensive product from your shelves.”
Others have expressed their fury on the Tesco community page who are demanding answers.
Caroline Brown said: “Tesco I’m keen to understand your choice to sell wipes that are both harmful to aquatic life and while you can flush them they do not disintegrate as the name implies, but end up in the sea and beances where, by your own admittance they cause long lasting effects.”
Tessa Buckley added: “Ok Tesco so what is this all about please? Flushable wipes? Very dangerous to aquatic life? Is your Ethics & Environmental dept run by a moron? Kindly explain before I get Hugh Fernley on the case.”
Lorna Briers-Parr wrote: “Could you please explain why you are selling “flushable wipes” that are dangerous to aquatic life and have long term effects?”
Karen Espley added: “Why are you selling products which, by your own admission, cause long lasting damage to sea life?”
Tesco’s online team did respond to one of the commenters saying: “The “harmful to aquatic life” phrase is required under the Classification, Labelling and Packaging regulations and relates to the hazard should a situation arise whereby the wipes are in contact with ponds/rivers e.g through lorry crash or by disposing of irresponsibly, and not by flushing them down the toilet.
“The Classification, Labelling and Packaging regulation statements on the pack are based on the liquid formulation as a whole, not as it is used on the wipe substrate and also not looking at the usage of the wipe, with any liquid transfer to a surface prior to its disposal.
“The wipes are flush-able due to their fabric construction meaning they break up in the pipes leading from your toilet to the sewage system.
“Before the product can finally be called flush-able, it goes through a series of product tests under the EDANA protocol. This testing re-creates how the product moves through the sewer system.
“This involves Toilet and Drain Line Clearance test and Slosh Box disintegration test. Once the product has passed this standard, only then can it be called flush-able.”