A Scottish inventor has invented a wet wipe you can flush down the loo without polluting the environment or causing huge fatbergs to form in sewers.
Brian McCormack, the owner of McCormack Innovation, spent three years designing a wipe that’s just been given a ‘fine to flush’ status by Water UK.
Wet wipes tend to be made of plastic which does not rot away when flushed down the toilet.
Instead, they can form blockages which are expensive to fix and contribute to the formation of disgusting giant fatbergs.
Once they emerge from the sewer system, the plastic also contaminates the environment.
The story of the flushable wipe started when Brian’s dad almost died of bowel cancer.
He noticed that traditional methods of collecting poo samples for cancer testing were messy, unhygienic and undignified, so designed a new cardboard collection device to make this process more straightforward.
This device is now being sold to clients across the world, although it has not been bought by the NHS because it was deemed too expensive.
Brian had already designed a soluble bandage, so decided to design a wipe that would dissolve rather than polluting the environment and blocking pipes.
‘It took me three years to get right,’ Brian told Metro.
‘This is a solution to a major problem.’
Now he’d like to see Scotland prohibit the sale of traditional non-biodegradable plastic wipes, just as it recently banned the plastic stalks used in cotton buds, and set an example for the rest of the world to follow.
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‘The reason they could ban these stalks is because there was an alternative: cardboard,’ he continued.
‘This was a major problem. Seagulls were swallowing them. They were washing up on beaches.
‘If the government had just banned cotton buds, they would have got a kick up the backside from the public.
‘Can you imagine trying to ban wet wipes?
‘But if you have an alternative, you can just ban the problem and bring in the solution.’
He said a ban was needed because people could not always be trusted to ensure they didn’t flush wipes and pollute the environment.
‘You can’t change people’s habits – what we have to change is the product,’ he said.
Since unveiling his invention, Brian has been approached by multinational corporations interested in the flushable wipes.
In a statement, he said: ‘Citizens and industry alike are no longer willing to accept the catastrophic impact that conventional wet wipes are having on the environment.
‘Not only are they a marine pollutant and harmful to marine wildlife they are the principal cause of between 50% and 70% of sewer blockages and between 80% and 90% of all sewage pumping station failures.’
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