Toilet Paper Panic - Stick to the Three P's

Posted by: Brendan Guiney on 26/03/2020
If it's not toilet paper, problems occur. Photo: Sydney Water 

Owing to current community concerns with toilet paper supply during the COVID-19 pandemic, some local water utilities are finding an increase in sewerage system blockages due to customers using alternatives such as wet wipes, paper towels, tissues, etc. None of these alternatives are designed to break down in the sewerage system like toilet paper. This leads to blocked pipes and pumps and overflows of raw sewage to the environment. 

Sydney Water reports that 75% of sewer blockages have involved flushed wet wipes. Consumer advocacy group Choice has previously awarded a leading wet wipes manufacturer with a 'Gold Shonky' at their 2015 Shonky Awards. More information from Choice and Sydney Water in their article:  'The messy truth about wet wipes'. The Water Services Association of Australia has recently issued a fact sheet, available here.

While toilet paper will inevitably become easier to buy in the near future, it's worth reminding your customers that toilets are only designed for the three P's - pee, poo and paper (toilet paper). Local water utilities can put some information on their websites and speak with their local media outlets to convey the message, like MidCoast Council or Coffs Harbour City Council

Sydney Water and other utilities around Australia have also put together some interesting social media campaigns to engage with their customers, and motivate their customers to be advocates. The campaign included staff, school groups and public forums to educate and change customer behaviour. Find out how Sydney Water pursued regulatory and customer behaviour change with little to no available budget here.

Sydney Water on Twitter

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