In recent years, more consumer products have been touted as disposable or flushable.
These items, such as disinfecting wipes, should be discarded in your garbage, not flushed down your toilet.Graphic courtesy of the city of Vancouver
Even if these items do not clog your home’s pipes, they can obstruct pump stations that convey sewage from homes and businesses to wastewater treatment plants. They also can interfere with the biological process used to treat sewage.
The only items that should be flushed are human waste and toilet tissue.
The following is a partial list of items that should be discarded in your garbage and never flushed down the toilet:
- Disinfecting wipes
- Paper towels
- Disposable diapers
- Feminine hygiene products
- Medical bandages and pads
- Dental floss
- Syringe needles
- Razor blades
- Product packaging
Prescription and over-the-counter medications do dissolve, but they pass through wastewater treatment plants and are discharged into rivers. For more information on proper disposal options, use the Recycling A-Z Waste Wizard and type in “medications.”
There are a number of other items that should not be flushed or dumped down the drain, including grease from kitchen cooking. When fats, oil, and grease are washed down your sink, they stick to the insides of sewer pipes and can cause messy backups.
Other items that should not be dumped down the drain include butter, coffee grounds, eggshells, gravy, mayonnaise, milk, coffee creamers, sour cream, salad dressing, potato peels, onion skins, pasta, rice, popcorn, shellfish and sand.