The majority of Brits are putting unsuitable items down their toilets and plugholes, potentially causing severe damage to their drainage systems, suggests research released by drainage specialist Lanes Group for World Plumbing Day (11 March).
World Plumbing Day is a yearly event to highlight the crucial role plumbing and drainage play in global health and safety. However, the Lanes Group study tells a different story about how Brits perceive the importance of their drains.
The study of 1,101 UK adults identified the nation’s bad flushing habits and the worst cities for them.
Commenting on the findings of the research, Michelle Ringland, head of marketing at Lanes Group, said: “It’s important that on World Plumbing Day the public understands the essential role drainage plays in their day-to-day lives. With this in mind, the results of the study are quite concerning, especially considering that more than 3,000 UK homes are flooded each year as a result of blocked sewers.”
Overall, Birmingham came out as the worst city, with a shocking 87% flushing items deemed unsuitable for drainage systems.
Of the items the people of Birmingham are putting down the drain, 44% have flushed ‘flushable’ wipes, which, despite their labelling, are incompatible with drains. A further quarter (27%) admitted to disposing of cotton pads, balls or buds, with a concerning one in five flushing condoms.
Edinburgh came second from bottom, with 80% of respondents flushing inappropriate items. The study also showed the people of Edinburgh need to re-think their flossing habits, with more than a fifth (22%) having flushed dental floss, the highest percentage of any city in the UK.
Other cities making the five worst drainage hotspots included London, where more than three quarters (78%) of people have put unfriendly items down their drains. This was closely followed by Leeds (75%) and Cardiff (73%).
Glasgow came out as the nation’s most drain-friendly city. However, despite this seemingly honourable title, more than half (56%) of Glaswegians still have flushed items which are known to cause drain blockages.
Overall, a concerning third (34%) of UK adults flush ‘flushable’ wipes, with more than one in five (22%) putting oil, fat or grease down the drain, and a naughty 12% disposing of cigarette butts in the toilet.
Other peculiar items the public have left their drainage to deal with, included plasters (9%), nappies (3%) and even cat litter (2%).
Michelle added: “It seems the public need to get a lot better clued up on good drainage practice, and the consequences of failing to take care of our drains. Our advice would be, when in doubt, always bin the item accordingly rather than heading straight for the sink or toilet.”
To explore a map of the UK’s worst drainage hotspots and which unsuitable items we’re flushing, visit: blog.lanesfordrains.co.uk/drainoffenders. You can also test your drainage know how by playing the Fact or Flush game: www.lanesfordrains.co.uk/fact-or-flush/.