Wipes Legislation Moves Forward! CASA Member Agencies Encouraged to Send Support Letters
CASA’s sponsored legislation on wet wipe labeling, AB 1672, was amended Wednesday, July 1, 2020, and will likely be heard in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on July 21st. Letters of support are due to the committee as soon as possible and should be submitted via the legislative advocacy portal at this link. Please feel free to use this template letter as the basis of your agency’s support letter. The letter can be customized to reflect your agency’s experience with wipes over the years, and we encourage you to highlight issues with wipes such as problems with systems and equipment, overflows, and importantly, costs to your agency for additional maintenance and capital improvements. We also encourage you to attach any outreach materials your agency has used with your customers. Lastly, if your agency has experienced COVID related wipes impacts to our system, this is critical information to share with the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and your local Senator, and we strongly encourage you to include it in your letter.
The recent amendments to the bill are the result of several months of negotiations between CASA, the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC), the Association of Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA), the Household and Consumer Product Association (HCPA) and several of the large manufacturers. The amendments represent a consensus agreement and require the “Do Not Flush” symbol and warning notice to appear on all non-flushable wipes products such as diaper wipes, baby wipes, and cosmetic wipes. Additionally, the bill requires the manufacturers of these products to execute mandatory education and outreach campaigns explaining the labeling requirements to consumers, which will also be coupled with a wastewater collection study to evaluate consumer behavior.
We are requesting that agencies send letters of support as soon as possible and copy CASA on their letters. For questions about the bill or how to submit a position letter, please contact Jessica Gauger.
Research Connects Wipes with Microplastic Pollution
Recent research published in the international journal Water Research conclusively connects wet wipes with microplastic pollution. The research was conducted in Ireland by the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway (NUI) and finds that not only are wipes clogging pipes, but they are also contributing to the ocean plastic crisis. “50% of the wipes labeled ‘flushable’ in the study were shown to contain plastics.” These microplastics are known to carry, and can act as vectors for, bacteria and viruses, providing yet another reason why proper labeling of non-woven products is essential in protecting both public health and the environment. Read more here.