Waitrose & Partners aims to help wipe out sewer blockages

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Waitrose & Partners has become the first UK supermarket to achieve ‘Fine to Flush’ certification for its own label wet wipes.  

Waitrose fragrance-free moist toilet tissue refills and Waitrose lightly fragranced moist toilet tissue refills will now be certified as ‘Fine to Flush’, the standard introduced in January this year by Water UK, which represents water companies across the country. 

The two products, which are both plastic-free, are available in stores from today and packs will soon carry the ‘Fine to Flush’ logo.

This means they have both passed the necessary tests that prove they break down quickly and easily in the sewer system. The tests are carried out by WRc, the independent technical experts who developed the flushability standards in conjunction with Water UK.

Waitrose & Partners has also confirmed it continues to work towards meeting guidelines to ensure the rest of its own label flushable wipes meet the new 'Fine to Flush' certification. Wipes that are not designed to be flushed are already clearly labelled ‘Do not flush’.*

Head of CSR for Waitrose & Partners, Tor Harris, said:

“Wet wipes have become increasingly commonplace in UK households so it’s an issue we have to tackle and have been working on with our suppliers for some time. We know we still have more work to do, but this is a big step forward and gives us a platform to build on for the rest of our range.” 

Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas at the Marine Conservation Society added: 

"It is great news that Waitrose & Partners has listened to the Marine Conservation Society’s call for own brand wipes labelled as 'flushable' to pass the water industry 'Fine to Flush' standard. We now urge not only other retailers to follow suit, but also major, international brands. Customers need to know that when they are instructed to flush, the product really is safe for UK sewers and won't contribute to blockages and fatbergs."

*Following guidance from EDANA and INDA in 2017, Waitrose & Partners became one of the first UK retailers to implement new front of pack labelling to ensure all wipes that are not designed to be flushed are clearly labelled with ‘Do not flush’. 



Waitrose & Partners has recently announced it was  extending its ‘Unpacked’ test in Oxford and has committed to introducing elements of the concept into three more shops by the end of the year, after an overwhelmingly positive response. The retailer transformed its Botley Road shop in June taking more than 200 products out of their packaging to test how customers might be prepared to shop differently, with the aim of saving thousands of tonnes of unnecessary plastic. Unpacked will now form part of the new look stores to be unveiled in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, in September and Abingdon and Wallingford, both in Oxfordshire, in November.

Waitrose Taking On Plastics demonstrates how Waitrose & Partners is taking steps to eliminate unnecessary plastic and packaging, which includes: 

All Waitrose & Partners own-brand packaging will either be widely-recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2023.

The supermarket will remove black plastic from all its own-brand products by the end of 2019. It has already removed hard-to-recycle black plastic on its fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and veg. 

Waitrose & Partners recently launched the world’s first home compostable ready meal packaging removing nearly nine million products out of black plastic.

Single-use plastic bags for loose fruit and veg bags were replaced with a home compostable alternative in May 2019 and in March this year it removed all 5p single-use carrier bags.

By Christmas 2020, its own label cards, wraps, crackers, tags, flowers and plants will either be glitter-free or the retailer will use an environmentally friendly alternative.


Waitrose & Partners

James Armstrong
Partners Corporate Communications
Tel: 01344824657/ 07764676880
Email: james.armstrong@waitrose.co.uk