SCA’s TENA Flushable Washcloths first to earn certification, helping support safer wastewater systems by eliminating confusion between flushable and non-flushable products in the marketplace

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — NSF International, an independent global organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the water, food, and consumer goods industries, has certified the first product – SCA’s TENA ® Flushable Washcloths (adult-sized wipes) – under the NSF Flushable Consumer Products Certification Program. The NSF ‘Certified Flushable’ mark on certified TENA Flushable Washcloths helps buyers differentiate between flushable and non-flushable products by eliminating confusion.

This is important because while overall wipes usage has increased at a rate of 10 percent per year, flushable wipes only make up roughly five percent of the overall wipes category.* Yet, wastewater treatment facilities face increased challenges as a result of  non-flushable wipes products entering treatment systems through toilets, which leads to clogging and other negative effects on wastewater collection and treatment systems that can increases costs and the risk for sewer spills.[NSF Certified Flushable Mark]

NSF International’s Flushable Consumer Products Certification Program — the only program of its kind — addresses these concerns through providing third-party verification of flushability claims against recognized industry standards for flushable products. Certified flushable products will bear the “NSF Certified Flushable” Mark, demonstrating compliance with NSF’s stringent criteria. The Mark indicates whether certified products are suitable for a sewer system, a septic system or both. Products covered by the program include nonwoven consumer products such as baby/adult wipes and napkins.

SCA, owner of TENA® incontinence care brand as well as the Tork ®brand, is a global hygiene and paper company that develops and produces personal-care products, tissue, packaging solutions, publication papers and solid-wood products. Sales are conducted in some 100 countries. Sales in 2011 amounted to SEK 106 billion (EUR 11.7 billion). SCA has about 44,000 employees.

To earn certification, SCA partnered with Rockline Industries, which manufactures TENA Flushable Washcloths. NSF scientists tested product samples provided by Rockline to ensure they meet the requirements of the program. Rockline’s facilities were also subject to an audit to verify that products are being manufactured to approved specifications and adhere to proper safety and quality checks.

“TENA brand Flushable Washcloths continue SCA’s tradition of innovation and commitment to environmental responsibility. NSF Flushable Product Certification provides assurance to our customers, regulators and the public that our TENA Flushable Washcloths have been tested by an independent third party and found compatible with wastewater collection and treatment systems,” said Tor Lund, head of SCA Personal Care North America Marketing.

“The NSF Flushable Consumer Products Certification Program complements our 30-year history of providing wastewater treatment certification, compostability, and sustainability services,” said Tom Bruursema, General Manager of NSF International’s Sustainability Division. “SCA and Rockline are leading the way for their industry, demonstrating their commitment to supporting safer wastewater treatment systems through eliminating confusion in the marketplace regarding flushable products.”

How the NSF Flushable Products Certification Program Works

The comprehensive program evaluates products against a rigorous flushability guidance document developed by industry experts from the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) and European Disposables and Nonwovens Association (EDNA). This document, called “The Guidance Document for Assessing the Flushability of Nonwoven Consumer Products,” provides a comprehensive framework and test methods for evaluating flushability characteristics.  

NSF’s Flushable Consumer Products Certification program is offered through NSF International’s Sustainability division and includes:

  • Testing of product samples to ensure they meet the requirements of the guidance document. This testing is conducted using a flushability rig that was custom-built to the test methods outlined in the guidance document. This includes various drainline slopes, toilets and pipe diameters used in both the US and European plumbing systems.
  • Facility inspections to verify that products are being manufactured to approved specifications and adhere to proper safety and quality checks.

NSF certification is granted if all test and inspection requirements are successfully completed. Annual facility audits/inspections and periodic product retesting are required to maintain a company’s active listing on NSF’s website and continued use of the NSF Mark. This NSF “Certified Flushable” Mark may also be used on product packaging and marketing materials.

For additional information, please email Ellen Van Buren at flushability@nsf.org or visit nsf.org/info/flushability.

Editors note: To schedule an interview with NSF Sustainability General Manager Tom Bruursema, contact Greta Houlahan at houlahan@nsf.org or 734-913-5723.

About NSF International: NSF International is an independent global organization that writes standards, tests, and certifies products and for the food, water and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment (www.nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting public health and safety worldwide and operates in more than 120 countries. NSF is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment.

The NSF Flushable Consumer Products Certification Program provides companies with a credible means to substantiate flushability claims. NSF’s Wastewater Treatment Program offers certification to technologies, which treat whole house wastewater, black waste, graywater and individual treatment components, such as filters, pumps, etc.  The wastewater program was developed at the request of the regulatory community more than 30 years ago when the alternative, onsite, residential wastewater treatment industry began to grow and the demand for effective, onsite treatment increased. NSF’s Sustainable Business Services include sustainable product certification and assurance, sustainable standards development, environmental systems assurance and management registrations, greenhouse gas verification, footprinting and more.

TENA® and Tork®  are  registered trademarks of SCA Hygiene Products, A.B.

* McIntyre, Karen. "INDA, EDANA Continue To Work On Flushability Guidelines amidst Proposed Legislation in CA, Trade Groups Continue to Work to Understand Concerns/issues at Waste Water Facilities."Household and Personal Care Products Industry (HAPPI). Rodman Publishing. Web. 25 May 2012. <http://www.happi.com/wipes/2010/09/inda-edana8200continue-to-work-on-flushability-sta>.