Imagine life without a toilet.
Pretty bad, right? These unsung heroes save the day with every flush. But what exactly can you flush down the toilet? When we flush things that we shouldn’t, they can clog the pipes in our home as well as sewer systems. They can also find their way into waterbodies when combined sewer systems overflow.
During the novel coronavirus outbreak, it can be especially tough to know what to flush. Face masks? Rubber gloves? Tissues? Paper towels? Disinfectant wipes?
Disclaimer: Do not take this as a personal challenge to see how many non-flushable items you can send down the drain unless you want to be dealing with a clogged toilet right now.
In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have enough to worry about without adding sewer system backups to the list. If sewage blocks cause flooding, emergency services may be pulled away from other important work.
The simple answer is that toilets are for human waste and toilet paper–that’s it. Always adhere to the ‘5-P’ rule, and only flush the following five things down the toilet:
4. Period blood (but not pads or tampons)
5. (toilet) Paper
If you’re flushing anything other than the ‘5-Ps’ down your pipes, you can clog sewer systems and contaminate our environment and waterbodies.
No! Face masks may keep COVID-19 out of respiratory systems, but flushing these masks isn’t healthy for sewer systems and ecosystems. Dispose of them in the garbage.
No! Hand your rubber gloves over to the garbage when you’re done with them. You definitely don’t want them gripping the sides of your pipes and clogging your toilet or ending up in a sea turtle’s stomach.
No! Tissues and paper towels are chemically treated so they do not break down in sewer systems like toilet paper does. Tissues cause issues when they build up in the drains. Throw them out in the garbage.
No! Wipes (even ‘flushable’ ones) can clog sewers. The wipes will eventually disintegrate into smaller and smaller pieces, but they never truly disappear. Their synthetic fibres (like rayon or viscose) accumulate in our waterbodies. Wipe away ocean pollution along with germs by putting your wipes in the garbage.
All types of wipes, such as:
Feminine hygiene products, such as:
Medications, such as:
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