NSF Intl., an independent global organization that writes standards and tests and certifies products for the water, food and consumer goods industries, has certified the first product–SCA’s TENA flushable washcloths (adult-sized wipes)–under the NSF Flushable Consumer Products Certification Program. The NSF ‘Certified Flushable’ mark on certified TENA flushable washcloths helps buyers differentiate between flushable and non-flushable products by eliminating confusion.
This is important because while overall wipes usage has increased at a rate of 10% per year, flushable wipes only make up roughly 5% of the overall wipes category. Yet, wastewater treatment facilities face increased challenges as a result of non-flushable wipes products entering treatment systems through toilets, which leads to clogging and other negative effects on wastewater collection and treatment systems that can increases costs and the risk for sewer spills.
NSF Intl.’s Flushable Consumer Products Certification Program–the only program of its kind–addresses these concerns through providing third-party verification of flushability claims against recognized industry standards for flushable products. Certified flushable products will bear the “NSF Certified Flushable” mark, demonstrating compliance with NSF’s criteria. The mark indicates whether certified products are suitable for a sewer system, a septic system or both. Products covered by the program include nonwoven consumer products such as baby/adult wipes and napkins.
SCA, owner of TENA incontinence care brand as well as the Tork brand, is a global hygiene and paper company that develops and produces personal-care products, tissue, packaging solutions, publication papers and solid-wood products. Sales are conducted in some 100 countries. Sales in 2011 amounted to SEK 106 billion (EUR 11.7 billion). To earn certification, SCA partnered with Rockline Industries, which manufactures TENA flushable washcloths. NSF scientists tested product samples provided by Rockline to ensure they meet the requirements of the program. Rockline’s facilities were also subject to an audit to verify that products are being manufactured to approved specifications and adhere to proper safety and quality checks.
“TENA brand Flushable Washcloths continue SCA’s tradition of innovation and commitment to environmental responsibility. NSF Flushable Product Certification provides assurance to our customers, regulators and the public that our TENA flushable washcloths have been tested by an independent third party and found compatible with wastewater collection and treatment systems,” said Tor Lund, head of SCA Personal Care North America Marketing.
“The NSF Flushable Consumer Products Certification Program complements our 30-year history of providing wastewater treatment certification, compostability and sustainability services,” said Tom Bruursema, general manager of NSF Intl.’s Sustainability Division. “SCA and Rockline are leading the way for their industry, demonstrating their commitment to supporting safer wastewater treatment systems through eliminating confusion in the marketplace regarding flushable products.”
How the NSF Flushable Products Certification Program Works
The comprehensive program evaluates products against a rigorous flushability-guidance document developed by industry experts from the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) and European Disposables and Nonwovens Assn. (EDNA). This document, called “The Guidance Document for Assessing the Flushability of Nonwoven Consumer Products,” provides a comprehensive framework and test methods for evaluating flushability characteristics.
NSF’s Flushable Consumer Products Certification program is offered through NSF Intl.’s Sustainability division and includes:
- -Testing of product samples to ensure they meet the requirements of the guidance document. This testing is conducted using a flushability rig that was custom-built to the test methods outlined in the guidance document. This includes various drainline slopes, toilets and pipe diameters used in both the U.S. and European plumbing systems.
- -Facility inspections to verify that products are being manufactured to approved specifications and adhere to proper safety and quality checks.
NSF certification is granted if all test and inspection requirements are successfully completed. Annual facility audits/inspections and periodic product retesting are required to maintain a company’s active listing on NSF’s website and continued use of the NSF Mark. This NSF “Certified Flushable” mark may also be used on product packaging and marketing materials.