Sydney Water awarded for keeping wipes out of pipes

Sydney Water Corporation

Tuesday, 11 April, 2017

Mumbrella awards

At last month’s Mumbrella CommsCon Awards, Sydney Water received trophies for the Best Government Sponsored PR Campaign of the Year and the Best Corporate Social Responsibility PR Campaign of the Year for the ‘Keep wipes out of pipes’ campaign.

The awards come shortly after the campaign won the Australian Water Association’s (AWA) NSW Program Innovation Award earlier this year, putting Sydney Water in contention for the National AWA Program Innovation Award to be presented at OzWater’17. They also follow international awards, with the campaign recognised as the Corporate Social Responsibility PR Campaign of the Year at the Asia-Pacific Communications Summit in Singapore last October.

Sydney Water’s senior media and PR advisor, Peter Hadfield, said the keep wipes out of pipes education program has created significant awareness of the problems caused to the wastewater network by flushing wet wipes.

“There has been consumer confusion as many wet wipes are branded ‘flushable’, but our tests and independent tests undertaken by CHOICE and an accredited lab have demonstrated that even flushable branded wipes are not flushable at all,” said Hadfield.

“In December the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against two major wipes manufacturers, alleging that they each made false or misleading representation in relation to ‘flushable’ wipes they marketed and supplied in Australia.”

Hadfield said the education program has resulted in a 50% reduction in people who think it’s okay to flush wipes, according to Sydney Water customer sentiment surveys.

“The campaign has also taken off internationally, with over 300 wastewater utilities and non-government organisations from 23 countries now supporting the movement to keep these products out of pipes,” he said.

“The awards are a wonderful recognition of the hard work done by Sydney Water staff to bring this issue to wide public attention and to advocate for change in the packaging claims about these products.”

Image caption: Peter Hadfield accepts the Mumbrella CommsCon Awards on behalf of Sydney Water.

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