Not everything can be flushed down the toilet. There is a great risk of damaging septic tanks and city wastewater treatment centers when certain materials are flushed. Flushing certain items can be costly and stressful if you are not careful.
What Not to Flush Down the Toilet (or pour into the kitchen sink or storm drain)
Tampons, including applicators and packaging, and other feminine hygiene products do not break down in the system when flushed and can clog your plumbing.
Cooking Grease / Food
Grease should never be poured down any drain, period. It may look like a liquid that can easily be dumped down a drain, but when it cools, it will congeal and clog up your pipes. Collect your grease in a container and throw it in the trash, or save the grease for other uses. Learn more about our annual Used Oil and Cooking Grease take back event here.
Baby Wipes / Wet Wipes / Flushable Wipes
These wipes are becoming increasingly popular. They also increasingly cause clogs and backups in sewage pipes across the country. Although some brands might say they are flushable on the box, groups are revising the guidelines. Soon all wet wipes will have a noticeable “DO NOT FLUSH” symbol on the packaging. If you must use these, throw them away in the trash can. Flushing them can easily turn into an expensive mistake when you have to call a plumber to snake your toilet.
Floss is not biodegradable and can cause serious clogs and environmental damage. Floss can wrap around other items in the waste stream such as hair, toilet paper, wipes etc., risking a bigger chance of a plug in your system
Q-tips / Cotton Balls
You might think that cotton will break down, since some toilet paper is made from cotton linen, but it doesn’t! It will clump together, causing stoppages at bends in the pipes.
Diapers are made to expand when exposed to liquid. In the unlikely event you actually get the diaper to flush, it can swell and get caught in the U-bend of the pipes.
You may think it is a good idea to put pills out of harm’s way, but you are probably doing more harm than good by flushing them. They have toxic effects on groundwater supplies and wildlife. There are many community-based “take back you meds programs.”
Paper Towels / Tissues
Paper towels and facial tissues do not break down like toilet paper when flushed and often contain oil or harmful chemicals.This might lead to a plugged sewer pipe. It’s best to throw paper towels and facial tissue in the trash
Cigarettes are full of toxic chemicals that end up going straight into the groundwater supply. If you smoke, snuff them out and throw the butts away properly.
Pesticides and Herbicides Disposal / Recycling
These products are poisonous to humans, pets and wildlife. They should never be burned, buried, dumped on the ground or in water, or poured down the drain. Use the product according to label directions and store until it can be used or taken to a hazardous materials collection program.
Latex paint is no longer considered a hazardous waste and may be discarded in household trash when ompletely dry and hard. Leave lids off the can so trash haulers can see the paint is dry.
For small amounts, open can and allow to air dry. For large amounts, add kitty litter, stir and allow to dry; or pour a thin layer (about one inch) of paint into a cardboard box lined with plastic. Allow to dry. Continue layering and drying one layer at a time until all the paint has hardened.
Oil Based Paint
The residue is harmful and can cause major plugs. Use up according to label instructions, give to someone who can use it, or take to a hazardous material collection program.