Everything has been flushed down a toilet at some stage, from unwanted goldfish to cell phones and credit cards. It seems like a black hole where once you flush, it’s gone forever! However every time something unwanted is flushed down the toilet, they build up until they damage septic tanks and city wastewater treatment centres. In London last year, a 250m long, 130 tonne ‘fatberg’ made up of congealed mass of fat, wet wipes and nappies was blocking London’s sewage network. It cost 1.6 million pounds to remove and threatened to cripple the entire water system.
So here’s a list of common things to avoid flushing down the toilet. It may help save you embarrassment, and potentially thousands of dollars in expensive pluming costs, as well as avoiding polluting the environment along the way.
- Feminine Products
Nappies, sanitary napkins, tampons and cottons buds should all be wrapped and placed in a bin – They do not break down like toilet paper.
- Cooking Grease and Food
The Water Corporation report that 30% of all blockages are caused by congealed fats, oil and grease that have cooled and solidified in our sewerage pipes.
- Baby Wipes and Wet Wipes
Watch out for wet wipes that are marketed as ‘Flushable’ – they do not disintegrate like toilet paper, and are notorious for creating clogs in Australian sewage
systems. Opt for a more earth friendly toilet seat ‘sanitizing spray’ that can be applied with toilet paper.
Although diapers contain human poo, they cannot be flushed down the toilet! Diapers are made to expand in water, and are regularly caught in the U-Bend of the pipe.
You may think it is a good idea to flush unwanted medical pills down a toilet, out of sight. However this may have toxic effects on groundwater supplies and surrounding wildlife. Stick to putting these in the rubbish bin.
- Paper Hand Towels
Paper towels are meant to be thrown in the bin, and not flushed down the toilet. They are harder and stronger, as well as more absorbable than toilet tissue, and do not ever break down fully – even if they are recycled or eco-friendly paper towels.
- Cigarette Butts
Cigarettes are full of toxic chemicals and if they are flushed down the toilet these toxic chemicals end up in the water system. Butt them out in the bin.
So what does that leave us? Well human faeces and regular toilet paper should be the only things you flush down your toilet at all times. 100% Recycled single-ply toilet paper is the best toilet paper for the environment because it dissolves almost instantly in water.