UK proposes to ban sewer-clogging wet-wipes - should New Zealand do the same?

A proposal to ban wet wipes could save the UK government almost NZ$200 million a year in sewer clean up costs. 

In Australasia, new flushable standards have been brought in to help customers know which products break down in water, but Watercare says people should still avoid putting wipes down the tubes.

The items have been clogging up sewers for years and the UK government says they've had enough.

"Now we're just going to complete it and ban plastic wet wipes for good," UK MP Environment Secretary Therese Coffey said. 

Wet wipes, when flushed, are notorious for clogging up and overwhelming pipes, from clumping together with cooking oils to form fatbergs.

"The biodegradable ones are more expensive and I think sometimes it is easier to buy the cheaper ones," one UK woman said. 

But it's not cheaper or easier for those in charge of the clean up.

In Aotearoa, Watercare says "We spend about $6 million each year cleaning up wastewater overflows caused by these types of blockages".

In demonstrations on social media, they show the breakdown of a supposedly flushable wet wipe versus toilet paper after one minute.

In the coming months these icons will soon be on products that are flush-safe.

But Watercare says when in doubt only flush the three Ps - Pee, Poo and TP, meaning toilet paper.

As for whether New Zealand should look at banning wipes too, "we can do without them, let's face it," one woman said.

"They just don't break down," another said.

Calls to flush them out of use - for good this time.