Low Carbon Canada

Mar 3, 2017 at 6:06 AM by Scott Howe

Carbon calculations

The link is to a UK report. My grade 78 class is working on flushable wipes and we are trying to figure out how to calculate greenhouse gas and carbon footprint created by flushable wipes. We know as a starting point that approximately 2% of the 8 million tons of plastic that goes into our oceans each year is from the wipes section of non-woven products. In Canada this number could be .2 or .002. The challenge is finding life cycle assessment data on wipes in Canada that are flushed. 

Any suggestions?

1 Reply

Mar 6, 2017 at 3:53 PM

Hello Scott,

Flushable wipes (many of which are not biodegradable) wreck a lot of damage in our sewers, landfills and especially the water system. Not to mention, it is causing millions of dollars in damage to infrastructure every year. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of statistics out there concerning the amount the GHGs they create but here are some helpful links to Canadian articles that I found online. It might help to frame your approach to the topic in terms of what can be done to minimize the damage and effects:





Scott Howe
Mar 6, 2017 at 6:45 PM

Hi Jamila,

Thanks for the articles and comments.

To all the teachers, students and Gordon:

78H is at the I Wonder stage again: we are wondering how to best spend $500 to raise awareness about wipes that get flushed into our waste water. Any suggestions?


1. We want our government, industry, manufacturers, retailers to agree on a standard for flushability. We think if the word flushable is used on packaging then everyone should be in agreement on the standard for flushability. We want to spread this message.

2. We are also concerned that if flushable wipes have plastic in them and they are going into our waste water and then into our oceans there is a greenhouse impact, their is a carbon increase, and there is an increase in marine plastic pollution. How much?


Two issues, product labeling (wipes clog pipes), and product content (plastic pollution in our oceans is an international issue and plastic in wipes causes wipes to not break down fast enough causing clogs in pipes and resulting, when combined with FOG (fats,oils,grease) in FATBERGS). Cost to municipalities: significant. Profits to wipe manufacturers: significant.

Google Key word: flushable.