Disposable wipes sold in Oregon will soon have to come with a label that says “Do Not Flush.”
That’s the result of House Bill 2344, which was approved by state lawmakers and signed this week by Gov. Kate Brown. Wipes that aren’t meant to be flushed can clog up wastewater systems, leading to costly repairs. A number of municipalities in Oregon have reminded the public of this over the past year, especially during the early months of the pandemic when toilet paper was sometimes hard to find on store shelves.
Rep. Marty Wilde, D-Eugene, said even wipes labeled as “flushable” can cause problems. “Those wipes often contain longer wood fibers, or they contain plastics in them. And because of the length of those fibers, they can create clogs in the system," he said.
Wilde is one of the bill's chief sponsors.
The measure allows local governments to fine retailers up to $10,000 for selling disposable wipes that don’t display the “Do Not Flush” warning, although the penalty for a first offense is no more than $2,000, and even that won't come until the store has had the chance to respond to a written warning.
Wilde said the law is modeled after a similar one approved in Washington last year. Oregon’s requirement takes effect in July of 2022.