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  • by Karma Loveday

Advert watchdog bans Andrex wet-wipe promotion in landmark flushability ruling

The water industry has welcomed a landmark ruling last week from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), banning a Kimberley-Clark web ad which claimed its Andrex Washlet wipes were flushable.

The ASA ruled the ad broke guidelines by wrongly implying its wipes met a single national standard for flushability.

While they met a standard set by manufacturers, Kimberley Clark admitted they did not meet Water UK’s Fine to Flush standard, and there was no indication any other standard existed in the ad. The ASA said: “We considered that in order to make an informed decision, it was material for consumers to know that another accreditation existed in relation to a product’s ‘flushability’, which Andrex Washlets had not been given. In the absence of qualifying information to that effect, we concluded that the claim ‘flushable’ was misleading.”

Rae Stewart, Water UK’s director of corporate affairs, said: “Water UK is very clear – wipes manufacturers should not label or sell products advertised as ‘flushable’ if they don’t pass the official Fine to Flush standard. Our research shows that wipes can be a major contributor to sewer blockages, and customers have been left confused by wipes labelled ‘flushable’.”

Kimberly-Clark is now going to seek official Fine to Flush approval for some of its wipes. Manufacturers can have their wipes tested by WRc, who developed the specifications for the Fine to Flush standard in conjunction with Water UK.

• Waitrose has become the first supermarket to achieve the Fine to Flush certification. Two types of its wipes have now achieved the standard. It joins Natracare which achieved the certification earlier this year.

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