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Issue:- 5 December 2014

Water company fears 'beauty-berg' Christmas chaos

WATER company United Utilities is urging Christmas party goers in Southport not to flush in a rush, in a bid to avoid a “beauty berg crisis” this winter.  Sales of make up removal, tanning and cleansing wipes, cotton pads and cotton buds, are set to soar over the festive season, as revellers prepare to look their best for Christmas parties. But with at least one in ten likely to flush these items down the loo instead of binning them, United Utilities fears large clumps of discarded cosmetics; dubbed beauty bergs; will form and block up domestic pipes and public sewers causing Christmas chaos. The problem is set to peak following 'Mad Friday', the busiest night of the year for Christmas parties, which this year falls on the 19 December 2014.  Tony Griffiths, a United Utilities Wastewater Network Manager said:- “Most people are now familiar with the problem of 'fatbergs'; solid masses that form in pipes due to discarded oils and fats. But beauty bergs can be just as problematic. What many people don't realise is that when flushed, discarded cosmetic items such as make-up removal wipes, tanning wipes and cotton pads also clump together to form hard, almost impenetrable blockages. The result is one messy Christmas package that most people would rather not unwrap!” United Utilities has launched a special strand of its Think Before You Flush campaign to help tackle the issue, urging people to be “in it to bin it” when it comes to cosmetic products. Supporting the campaign is leading beauty vlogger Gabriella Lindley; the face of You Tube beauty channel Velvetgh0st. As well as producing a special party make-up prep and removal tutorial for the campaign, she's urging people not to be forgetful flushers this Christmas.   To see Gabriella's party make-up guide, visit:-   Gabriella said:- “Everyone makes an extra special effort to look great for parties but in the rush to get ready, or when you get in late after a fabulous Christmas do, it's easy to quickly flush a beauty wipe or cotton pad without even thinking about it. But who wants to wake up to blocked pipes? I don't, so I'm definitely in it to bin it from now on.”  Earlier this Autumn, United Utilities revealed that it attends over 53,000 call outs to pipe blockages every year at a cost of £20 million. Those experiencing blocked domestic pipes pay £99 on average for a plumber to fix the problem, without factoring in any damage caused.

'Toilettiquette' Top Tips

To help avoid beauty berg Christmas chaos, United Utilities is urging people to follow some festive flushing 'toilettiquette' this party season:-

1) Be a bedroom binner winner – when getting ready, have your bedroom bin handy for quickly disposing of cotton pads, buds or tanning wipes.

2) Don't be fooled by flushable – even if your make up wipes say 'flushable' they can and do still block pipes and sewers.

3) Avoid blocked pores AND blocked pipes – have your make up removal wipes ready for when you get back in so you can wipe, bin and sleep. You'll avoid blocked pores; 'panda eyes' and festive flushing fiascos!

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