The use of wipes in a medical setting is now well established as a measure for infection control. However, like all control measures, wipes need to be used appropriately to reduce the risk of infection.
Wipes need to be used only once on one surface and then disposed of correctly, follow these guidelines from Pal International on ‘How to use disposable wipes for environmental cleaning’.
Disposing of Wipes
If standard wipes are flushed down toilets it can clog your plumbing system and be very costly to your facility in terms of the cost of repairs and the cost of your bathroom facility being out of order while repairs are undertaken.
Not to mention the risk of infection if wipes are not disposed of correctly.
These are some simple steps to ensure that wipes are responsibly discarded in your facility.
Non flushable wet wipes account for up to 80% of sewer blockages and those that are caught by the filters at water treatment works end up in landfill. Wipes which escape the filters have an even greater environmental impact, ending up in rivers and on beaches. These wipes contain tiny plastic fibres which go on to harm fish and other marine life as the fibres are released and ingested. These plastic fibres might then go on to be consumed by other animals potentially entering the human food chain.
It is essential to clarify if a wipe is indeed flushable before doing so. Most wet wipes are not flushable. To ensure that the wipes are safe to flush check the packaging to see if they adhere to the EDANA and INDA testing standards.
Wipes shouldn’t be confused with toilet paper, nor should it be assumed that all wipes are maceratable.
A wipe that is not designed specifically for maceration will cause the machine to jam and break down, it is necessary to always check the packaging before attempting to dispose of it alongside items such as pulp bedpans.
As with flushable wipes above many wipes labelled as ‘biodegradable’ will lead you to think that they can break down easily, however, this isn’t strictly accurate.
Visit the Pal Knowledge Hub here for more learning and resources for the Healthcare Industry.
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