Sydney Water wins three more awards for the ‘keep wipes out of pipes’ education program

Media release

2 April 2017

The trophy cabinet is getting full at Sydney Water.

At the prestigious national Mumbrella CommsCon Awards, Sydney Water was presented with two trophies for the Best Government Sponsored PR Campaign of the Year and the Best Corporate Social Responsibility PR Campaign of the Year for their 'Keep wipes out of pipes' campaign.

The ‘Keep wipes out of pipes’ program was recognised earlier in the year by the Australian Water Association for the ‘NSW Program Innovation Award’. The NSW Award puts Sydney Water in contention for the National AWA Program Innovation Award to be presented at OzWater 17 in May.

This trifecta of awards follows on the from international recognition Sydney Water received for its ‘Keep wipes out of the pipes’ campaign by being awarded the Corporate Social Responsibility PR Campaign of the Year at the Asia-Pacific Communications Summit in Singapore last October.

Senior Media and PR Advisor at Sydney Water, Peter Hadfield said, 'Our 'Keep wipes out of pipes’ education program has created significant awareness of the problems caused to our wastewater network by flushing wet wipes. More importantly our customers, who are often hit with expensive plumbing bills to have wipes removed from the sewer pipes in their homes, are now aware of the problems of flushing wipes'.

Since we started the program, our customer sentiment surveys have shown a 50% reduction in people who think it’s OK to flush wipes.

The campaign has also taken off internationally, with over 300 wastewater utilities and non-government organisations from 23 countries now supporting the movement to keep these products out of pipes.

Our message has been consistent, asking the public to put wipes in the bin and not to flush them.

It’s great to see that Sydney Water’s customers and the customers of utilities right around Australia and around the world are taking notice.

There has been consumer confusion as many wet wipes are branded ‘flushable’, but our tests and independent tests undertaken by CHOICE and an accredited lab have demonstrated that even flushable branded wipes are not flushable at all.

In December, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against two major wipes’ manufacturers, alleging that they each made false or misleading representation in relation to ‘flushable’ wipes they marketed and supplied in Australia.

The awards are a wonderful recognition of the hard work done by Sydney Water staff to bring this issue to wide public attention and to advocate for change in the packaging claims about these products.

'Remember the only things that should ever be flushed are the three Ps – pee, poo and (toilet) paper', said Mr Hadfield.