LANSING, Mich. May 17, 2023 — State Rep. Denise Mentzer (D-Mt. Clemens) introduced House Bill 4596 today. This bill seeks to protect sewer systems from improper disposal of single-use wipes and would require disposable wipes to be appropriately labeled “Do Not Flush.” 

“Manufacturers are required to have proper warning labels for liability purposes, so why not require them to also label products conspicuously for infrastructure harm? Without these types of warnings, people wouldn’t know that flushing these products is detrimental to our infrastructure,” Mentzer said. “Not only does this legislation help save taxpayer money by preserving our pipes and sewers, but it will also help inform consumers about which products are degradable within water systems.” 

Flushed disposable wipes can cause costly damage to waste systems and can stay in the environment for hundreds of years. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this issue as more people turned to disposable wipes to disinfect their surfaces and around 4,000 pounds of wipes were collected and moved to landfills in Detroit during the pandemic. Even wipes advertised as flushable have caused significant damage to sewer systems, costing taxpayers money to fix the infrastructure.

“Given the massive investment Michigan is making in water infrastructure, it seems especially prudent to safeguard these investments from misuse. Placing warning labels on these products would cause Michigan residents to think twice before deciding to flush these wipes. Laws like these help prevent damage to Michigan infrastructure and residents’ plumbing — without laws like these, Michiganders can endure costly clogs.”