The corona crisis has led to an unprecedented rush for toilet paper. From february to march 2020, for example, there was a 700 percent increase in sales. Rough quantities were hoarded, the shelves were regularly cleared of stock. But while toilet paper is plentiful, many households are turning to alternatives, creating problems for municipal utilities and clearing plants.
The city of wurzburg addressed this very issue in a press release. The report calls for the avoidance of additional problems caused by the increased use of cake, paper or moist towelettes by households.
Toilet paper alternatives cause blockages
The material from which toilet paper alternatives such as cake, paper bags and wet wipes are made is problematic. Classic toilet paper grinds up quickly and can be easily filtered, but this is not the case with wet wipes. Therefore, blockages in the own household or in the sewerage system are possible.
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If the tissues end up in the wastewater treatment plants, they have to be "fished out of the wastewater", as stated in the press release. This task is currently made more difficult by the reduced personnel situation. Because in wurzburg the entire city administration – including the wastewater treatment plant – is currently operating in emergency mode.
Christine neuland, the head of the sewerage company, explains, however, that both the wastewater treatment and the sewerage system are "in any case properly ensured and in accordance with the legal requirements" in this respect be.
"Disaster for the environment" should be avoided
Neuland praises the behavior of the people of wurzburg so far: "we have not yet noticed any increased problems with toilet paper substitutes, which makes us very happy."
In order to maintain this situation in the future, neuland sends out an appeal: "please do not force our citizens to come up with creative hygiene ideas by making toilet paper scarce. Otherwise, we will not be able to cope with the minimum operations we have to manage, and we will face additional and avoidable problems."
This would be the case if we had to continue using toilet paper alternatives. As soon as the clearing systems do not function as desired, it is not possible to provide a full cleaning service. If this were to happen, it would ultimately also be a disaster for the environment."