What goes down the waste pipe matters. Flush the wrong things and we could end up with blocked drains, sewer flooding and river pollution.
No matter what it actually says on the packaging, most of our personal healthcare and beauty products must never be disposed of down the toilet. Most of them don’t break down in water like toilet paper does and instead form blockages in our sewers.
Things you should never flush down the toilet:
1. Wet wipes – wet wipes or baby wipes are very popular and some say they should be flushed, but in fact they create clogs and backup the toilet causing potential problems.
2. Condoms – they may seem small and insignificant but condoms are made of latex which is a nightmare for sewage systems.
3. Female sanitary products – these expand when they come into contact with water which means they easily block pipes.
4. Cotton wool – cotton wool might seem like it might get soggy and break down but it won’t. Cotton wool gathers together causing blockages in pipes.
5. Medication – Sometimes if you have some prescription medication that you no longer need, some people think that they are doing the right thing by flushing them down the toilet but it’s actually very dangerous. These drugs destroy bacteria and contaminate groundwater supplies.
6. Paper towels – these are extremely wasteful but if you do use them they are not designed to break down in water like toilet paper.
7. Cigarette butts – not only do they look quite nasty when they are floating in toilet water, they are also full of toxic chemicals. Also – think of all the water you are wasting to get rid of one tiny butt.
8. Dental floss – despite looking and feeling like string, dental floss is not biodegradable and it can wrap itself around other things in the pipeline, making clogs.
9. Oil and grease – fats should never be thrown down the toilet because as soon as it hits the drain it will cool and congeal clogging the pipes.
10. Cat litter – this is made from clay and sand, two things that should never be put down a toilet. It will also contain toxins and parasites that shouldn’t be put into our water system.
11. Disposable nappies – these are made from toxic plastic that is designed to expand when it comes into contact with water. If you manage to get them down the pan then they will become instantly caught up in the u-bend.