The Think Before You Flush team was delighted to meet students in Munster Technological University (MTU) and University College Cork (UCC) for Green Week and World Home Economics Day. The Think Before You Flush campaign is a public awareness campaigns run by Clean Coasts in partnership with Uisce Éireann. The main message of the campaign is simple, only flush the 3Ps – pee, poo and paper – throw all other waster in the bin. Flushing unsuitable items down the toilet can result in blockages in homes and the possibility of sewage related litter ending up in our waterways and on our beautiful beaches, of which Cork boasts many. This litter can impact the marine life that inhabits the waterways.  

Green Week is run in third level campuses all around the country, promoting green initiatives on campus which support the Green Campus flags many of these establishments hold. For Green Week 2023, Elaine Doyle from Clean Coasts gave a presentation to the students of MTU and did a clean-up in the Lee fields with the Environmental and Chemical Societies in UCC. As a follow up Elaine met the students of MTU for a clean-up on campus for World Home Economics Day 2023, the theme of which was waste literacy.   

Each talk and clean-up centred on sewage related litter and the responsibility we have in our homes to help keep our waterways litter free. The team also talked about pouring fats, oils, and greases (FOGs) from cooking down the kitchen sink. While they are a liquid at room temperature they harden as they travel along the wastewater network. These FOGs can then combine with other sewage related litter such as wipes, hair, cotton buds and dental floss and form fatbergs. Uisce Éireann clear approximately 200 blockages from the wastewater network every week.  

Speaking about the events Elaine from Clean Coasts said: “It was great to meet the students for an interactive presentation and litter picks. Events such as Green Week and World Home Economics Day are a great way for colleges to focus on the environment and make sustainability a part of everyday life. I spoke to a mix of lecturer run scheduled classes and student societies, both groups were engaged and enthusiastic, proud of their college and wanting to make a difference. Our research highlights under 35s are more likely to flush items in error, meeting students is a great way to help change this pattern.” 

Speaking about the Think Before You Pour and Think Before You Flush campaigns, Margaret Attridge, Uisce Éireann said: “We know from our research that pouring and flushing behaviour is changing for the better but there is still work to do. More than 170,000 people in Cork still pour fats, oils and greases down the sink, while more than 110,000 people in the county use their toilet as a bin. Those under 35 are are almost twice as likely to dispose of such waste in this way. Together with Clean Coasts, we are working to increase awareness among students around the impact of using your sink and toilet as a bin.  

What Can We Do?  

Join the campaign on social media @CleanCoasts and at Learn more about the Think Before You Flush campaign at