What not to flush down the toilet

The bathroom is a magical trash can. Merely toss, flush, and your rubbish is marvelously whooshed away to some watery subterranean netherworld, by no means to be seen once more.

Or so we wish to assume. The truth is, such practices clog bogs, harm water remedy amenities, necessitate costly cleanups, enhance water payments, create uncooked sewage overflows, hurt marine animals and create poisonous environmental points.

With that in thoughts, listed below are the issues that always find yourself within the sewer system — none of which have any enterprise being there.

Child wipes: Though these could also be used to wipe your child’s backside, they aren’t rest room paper. Child wipes are thicker, sturdier, and don’t break down simply, leading to clogged techniques.

Band-Aids: Product of non-biodegradable supplies, they simply tangle up with hair and fats to create blockages.

Cat litter: Scoopable and flushable cat litter sounds sensible, however in actuality, it causes issues. Flushing litter and feces down the hatch not solely causes plumbing issues, but it surely’s attainable that a parasite present in cat feces is killing sea otters and seals — and it may very well be coming from flushed cat waste.

Chewing gum: Flushing what’s mainly an adhesive down the bathroom shouldn’t be a sound observe, for apparent causes.

Cigarette butts: Though they appear flushable, cigarette filters don’t simply biodegrade and they’re full of chemical substances, which leach into the wastewater.

Condoms: Straightforward to flush, however not really easy on the sewer system. Condoms can inflate like balloons and trigger pretty harmful obstructions.

Contact lenses: Whereas tiny in measurement, these lenses are made from plastics that are not biodegradable. A examine estimates that 50,000 kilos of lenses find yourself down the drain as a substitute of being thrown away within the trash or recycled. Bausch & Lomb gives a recycling program the place you possibly can both drop off used lenses at one of many 2,000 participating doctor’s offices throughout the nation or mail them to the corporate.

Cosmetics: Your previous moisturizer and different magnificence care merchandise might be probably poisonous and disruptive to wastewater remedy vegetation and septic techniques.

Cotton balls and swabs: Cotton doesn’t break down simply, and though it could take some time for cotton merchandise to build up right into a clog, they’re troublesome to dislodge as soon as they do.

Woman flossing Positive, dental floss is small and barely noticeable. However it could actually nonetheless wreak havoc on drains and make its technique to the ocean. (Picture: Fortunate Enterprise/Shutterstock)

Dental floss: Seemingly harmless, dental floss is non-biodegradable and wraps round small clogs and tangles them into greater lots.

Disposable diapers: It’s exhausting to imagine that one might even get a diaper to flush down the bathroom, but that hasn’t stopped sewage employees from discovering techniques clogged with disposable nappies.

Dryer sheets: It is dangerous sufficient to tumble synthetic chemicals together with your garments, however flushing a dryer sheet afterwards is even worse. They keep artificial chemical substances that may get into the water system, and they’re constructed from non-biodegradable supplies.

Female provides: The padding and absorbent nature of those merchandise make them too thick for the plumbing.

Meals fats: Grease and fats congeal as soon as they quiet down, turning into stable lots that block pipes and trigger critical sewage issues. Sewer employees name the large grease lumps “fatbergs.”

Meals: Though meals is biodegradable, it could actually nonetheless lump collectively and trigger clogs.

Hair: After cleansing your hairbrush, deposit the clump within the rubbish not the bathroom. It tangles, catches issues, and clogs like loopy.

Paper towels and napkins: Too sturdy for the pipes.

Pets: Sure, pets. Goldfish are generally flushed, however small rodents (hamsters and gerbils) are additionally present in sewer techniques. They’re sturdy they usually create clogs; take into account a correct burial.

Prescription medicines: No, no, no. Marine life doesn’t must ingest your previous medication, to not point out that flushed meds can work their approach again into our ingesting water. See the Food and Drug Administration guidelines for disposing of undesirable medicines.

Sadly, many objects marketed as flushable, aren’t. Right here’s a helpful tip from town of Tacoma’s public works web page. Take two bowls of water and put rest room paper in a single, and place the take a look at merchandise (Kleenex, wipes, and many others.) within the different. Swish each objects within the water after which wait an hour earlier than swishing once more. The bathroom paper ought to have considerably disintegrated by then, whereas the opposite will seemingly have remained considerably entire. Except the merchandise disintegrates on the price of bathroom paper, it needs to be positioned within the rubbish reasonably than flushed.

Editor’s observe: This text has been up to date because it was initially revealed in January 2013.


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