Nonwovens / Technical Textiles

2021-12-16

VEOCEL™ Insights: A mission to prevent marine pollution

© 2021 Lenzing / VEOCEL™
Over the last 10 to 15 years, sewage blockages have become a serious problem, as many non-degradable products are flushed down the toilet due to product labelling that could be considered misleading. Therefore, Water UK created the “Fine to Flush” symbol – an official standard introduced in 2019 to identify which wet wipes can be flushed down toilets safely. The VEOCEL™ brand is proud to announce moist toilet tissue (MTT) wipes utilizing VEOCEL™ branded lyocell fibers with Eco Disperse technology have received the “Fine to Flush” certification from Water UK.

To discuss the importance of this certification in helping consumers purchase environmentally friendly products and reducing the amount of waste in waterways, oceans and sewage systems, we welcome Dr. Chris Potter, Commercial Director, Specialty Applications at Lenzing AG, as part of our “VEOCEL™ Insights” Series.

Dr. Chris Potter, Commercial Director, Specialty Applications at Lenzing AG © 2021 Lenzing
Dr. Chris Potter, Commercial Director, Specialty Applications at Lenzing AG © 2021 Lenzing


Q: Why is the “Fine to Flush” certification so important, not just to VEOCEL™ but also the wipes industry as a whole?

Chris: The “Fine to Flush” certification was introduced by Water UK in 2019 as part of an effort to identify which wipes can be flushed into the wastewater system. This standard is hugely important in helping consumers purchase environmentally friendly products and reducing the amount of waste in waterways, oceans and sewage systems. Our VEOCEL™ Lyocell fibers with Eco Disperse technology ensure the flushability of MTTs meets the latest UK requirements and we are delighted that these have been awarded with the “Fine to Flush” certification.

Q: The “Fine to Flush” certification is only valid in the UK, how are other markets working to establish certification of flushability and where do you see the most interest amongst consumers?

Chris: We see significant growth opportunities in this segment as the market develops into wider geographies and is picked up across global and national brands. We can already see signs of strong growth in China for example.  We also believe that standards of flushability will continue to develop meeting local system requirements.  The journey from GD4 to Fine to Flush to IWFSG will continue to develop.  Increasing levels of dispersibility are expected to be a standard requirement and a greater level of transparency will be required by the consumer.





Q: How are you working with EDANA to educate the industry on which products are flushable and which are not? 

Chris: We are extremely close collaborators with EDANA as we have a joint mission to tackle sewage system problems and prevent marine pollution. We strongly support their recent stance that only limited wet wipe categories, tested and proven flushable, should join toilet paper as products that are safe to flush. For example, extending the flushable category to include menstrual products would send the wrong signal to consumers around correct disposal and could undermine the industry’s efforts to tackle problems of marine waste and overburdened sewage systems. Only specifically designed and tested types of personal wet wipes should be labelled as being safe to put into the toilet and not bulky menstrual items. At VEOCEL™ our aim is to work with EDANA to spread this important message and educate consumers that only certain products are flushable. Standardization of test methods and the use of package logos are a key part of this education. 

Q: How will the “Fine to Flush” certification complement VEOCEL™’s business direction under the new EU Single-use Plastic Directive?

Chris: Derived from natural cellulose and fully biodegradable, VEOCEL™ Lyocell fibers with Eco Disperse technology is in alignment with the ambition of the EU in their Single Use Plastic Directive. Avoiding chemical process modification, these fibers are safe, dispersible and plastic-free helping contribute to a better environment.

Q: How will the “Fine to Flush” certification make a difference to Lenzing’s VEOCEL™ brand? What’s next for VEOCEL™ after receiving this accreditation?

Chris: The “Fine to Flush” certification is a reinforcement of the VEOCEL™ brand promise and we look to take on the challenge of additional and broader performance tests, working with our supply chain partners across the nonwoven product spectrum.


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