Friday, April 5, 2019

Flushable Wipes Scandal


OMG, this is a classic case of somebody wanting 10 minutes of fame.  I've been in the standards business for years, and this is not how you do it.  You need a bit of physics, and that involves the actual material properties.  All this tv coverage earned me 10 minutes of haranguing from the wife on that I should get rid of my wonderful Cottonelle wipes from Costco.

No way!  So I conducted my own test.  3 minutes in a jar, heavily shaken.  Of course, the stuff doesn't dissolve, neither does my regular product for the toilet.  But the tensile strength is nearly zero.  One wipe will easily go through the pipes and will shred on a screen.  So, let's plot tensile strength as a function of time in water.  My high-fibre diet does make something that plugs the pipes sometimes.  :)

The money is made in creating unnecessary anxiety.  OMG, I'm destroying the world!  These people are mixing in stuff that doesn't meet standards.  Look at the wet strength of that thing she is holding.  There are standards, and there are products that meet those standards.  Let the argument be that the standards aren't good enough.  Let there be a standards body and stamp.

ps.  ok, without any physics, their position is that the wet strength should become zero almost instantly.  This is an absolutist thing.  Obviously, there is a number above zero that is acceptable, but then they say that 'not zero' provides a scaffolding for other horrible stuff like fat-bergs, and other unflushables.

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