What to Flush

When the right things go down the toilet they are flushed away and start a journey through our wastewater treatment network travelling along pipes to a treatment plant where the waste is taken out and the water is treated and returned to rivers and the sea.

But, when items are flushed down the toilet that should be put in the bin they cause problems in our homes, in the wastewater treatment network and at the wastewater treatment plant. These items stick together and block pipes and pumps, which can lead to flooding of homes and gardens. Some of these items also end up on our beaches.

Top Toilet Tips!

  • Have a bin in the bathroom, so nobody’s tempted to flush litter
  • Wipes, cotton wool, buds, sanitary products and nappies belong in the bin even wipes that claim to be “flushable”.

Worst Offenders:

  • Wet wipes – baby, toddler, toilet and make up wipes
  • Cotton buds and cotton wool
  • Cigarette butts

What Not to Flush

There are many things that should never EVER be flushed down the toilet, such as:

Wipes such as baby wipes and make-up wipes are creating clogs and backups in sewer systems around the nation. Wipes don’t disintegrate like toilet paper and so they can cause serious problems in our marine environment. Often we find wet wipes on our beaches entangled in seaweed.

Cotton bud sticks might look like lolly pop sticks but they are made of plastic and can last a very long time in the marine environment.

You might think that these tiny balls of cotton wool would just get soggy and eventually break down in the pipes, but they don’t. They can gather together in bends of pipes and cause blockages.

You might think that you are doing the safe thing by flushing meds down the toilet but these drugs can destroy bacteria, contaminate groundwater and impact wildlife downstream. Solution? Bring out of date/unused medicine to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.

Even though hair is part of your body you shouldn’t flush it down the toilet. It can cause problems as it acts a bit like dental floss, forming giant balls which trap odours and can cause blockages in pipes.

Cigarette butts are toxic and we don’t want that in our water stream! If these butts end up on our beaches they can be ingested by marine life

Condoms probably seem small and harmless, but they can cause blockages in our septic tanks and sewage treatment plants.

Plasters are made from non-biodegradable plastic and can accumulate with other items in our pipes causing them to get blocked.

Dental floss is not biodegradable. If it is flushed down the toilet it can wrap itself around other objects in the pipeline, making blockages bigger.

Disposable nappies are made from plastic that expands when it comes in contact with water. Nappies will instantly be caught in the u-bend of a toilet causing a terrible back up.