A STUDY conducted to establish which plastic products are most likely to be wrongly flushed down the toilet has found wet wipes to be the biggest culprit.

Anglian Water, in partnership with the University of East Anglia’s School of Chemistry, has launched a research project called Skip Autopsy.

Data was gathered by experts who took a number of random samples from skips at the water company’s recycling centre in Newmarket.

Carried out also in collaboration with consultancy firm Mott MacDonald the aim of the study was to find out which type of plastic items are most likely to be flushed away.

As part of the initial screening process of waste water, rubbish is removed and collected before the water goes onto the next stage of the treatment process.

On this occasion, the rubbish samples were analysed to identify the quantity and types of different plastics which are removed at this stage.

The results of the project show the most common offender to be wet wipes, which are made up of roughly 80 per cent and do not break down in the sewer network.

The study estimates that of the 11 billion wet wipes sold each year in the UK, roughly 2.5 billion are wrongly flushed away.

Sanitary and personal hygiene products were the second most common category, but items such as toys, food wrappers, coffee lids and pens were also identified.

Regan Harris from Anglian Water said: “Putting the wrong things down the loo can cause havoc in the sewer network and ultimately lead to flooding in homes or the environment.

“The results from this study will help raise awareness of what not to flush down the loo and the potential consequences of blockages and sewer spills.”

Since the beginning of 2015, over 48 tonnes of such waste have been removed from the Newmarket water recycling centre.