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Tyndall Manchester

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New report published on 'Unflushables 2030?'

29 May 2020

The report by Claire Hoolohan and Alison Browne summarises a workshop with policy and industry partners that explored how to eradicate unflushables by 2030.

Unflushables are a substantial challenge in a world focused on reducing plastic pollution, improving water quality, reducing water demand and ensuring resilient water supplies, yet they’re taboo. They cause problems in sewers and waterways as products poorly designed for the lives we live and are disposed of in problematic ways in private bathroom spaces.

Not all that much is known about how and why people dispose of unflushable products via the toilet, and what might be done to change these practices. A recent review (shortly available in WIRES Water) by Cecilia Alda Vidal (SEED), Alison Browne (SEED), and Claire Hoolohan (Tyndall Centre, MACE), highlights the various social, cultural, material and infrastructural complexities of the unflushables challenge. Work within the social sciences shows that to address this type of challenge we need to move beyond ‘behaviour change’ approaches that focus on education and awareness raising, and think more creatively and innovatively about how changes to habits and routines happen.

Unflushables 2030? brought together a huge array of businesses and organisations with concerns in this field to find ways to create an environment for change. With representatives from Absorbent Hygiene Product Manufacturers Association (AHPMA); Anglian Water; Anglian Centre for Water Studies; Business in the Community (BITC); Consumer Council for Water (CC Water); Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association; DEFRA; EDANA; Environment Agency; Friends of the Earth; Jacobs; Kimberly Clark; National Federation Women’s Institutes; Natracare; Nicepak; Northumbrian Water; Optical Express; Rockline;  Sainsburys; Suez; Tesco; United Utilities; The University of Manchester; University of Sheffield, Walgreens Boots Alliance; Water UK.

Read the full report at the link below:

Unflushables workshop team picture

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