Kimberly-Clark, and other manufacturers and retailers of wet wipes were accused of selling “disposable” products that do not disintegrate like toilet paper. Given this, Kimberly-Clark has reached an agreement on its so-called “disposable” wipes that will include better labeling, manufacturing improvements and two years of testing – a victory for US cities and counties that say their products have drawn back sewer lines and clogged pumps.
According to Bloomberg News, K-C is not admitting any fault or wrongdoing under the settlement, a copy of which was sent to the portal by the Charleston Water System. Litigation against other companies in the lawsuit continues, including Costco Wholesale Corp., Procter & Gamble Co., CVS Health Corp., Target Corp., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and Walmart Inc.
Therefore, Scott’s toilet paper maker has agreed that its Cottonelle wipes labeled “disposable” will meet wastewater industry standards by May 2022 as part of the proposed agreement with the Charleston water management system in South Carolina.
According to the company’s website, the Cottonelle brand currently advertises its wipes as “disposable”, however Kimberly-Clark did not immediately respond to requests for negative comments the brand received. So, the agreement is important to an industry that has largely maintained that its disposable wipes break down in water as advertised, contrary to statements by municipalities that the products are creating a growing lock-in problem.
Water management professionals say that “fatbergs,” as the masses of accumulated material are known, are largely made up of wipes that consumers place in their toilets rather than in the trash can.
This decision will pressure the rest of the industry to take similar action, said Mike Saia, a representative of the Charleston Water System – or CWS. He said the agency plans to continue its lawsuit against the other companies.
“This sets a critical benchmark. This is a big day for the wastewater industry,” Saia said. The agency called on other wipe manufacturers to commit to the same standards and help educate the public about “the serious consequences when non-flushable wipes are disposed of down the toilet.”
Such an agreement has been submitted to the federal court in South Carolina, but has yet to be approved, according to CWS.