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TIPS: 15 things you might be flushing but need to stop right now

Just because these “disposable” items fit down your toilet drain doesn’t mean they are flushable. Using the toilet as a trash can is dangerous for home plumbing, and worse, maybe the environment.


Medications or pills

It may seem like a safe way of disposing of old or unused pills, but many pharmaceuticals can not be processed at a wastewater treatment plant, which means they can affect environmental water quality. It’s best to dispose of them at a collection event or safe drop-off. Learn more.

Paper towels

They don’t break down in pipes and sewers like toilet paper does.

Dental floss

Floss can ball up in your home plumbing and cause clogs, just like…

Hair balls

If you see a wad of hair in your sink, don’t wash it down the drain or drop it in the toilet. Put it in the trash.

Feminine products

The packages might say flushable, but it’s best to throw them in the garbage.

Rags or towels

Any cloth products just shouldn’t be flushed.

Syringes

If a medical condition necessitates injections, sharps containers are the safest place to dispose of used syringes.

Plastic bags

Grease, fats, or cooking oils

This is a bigger issue in kitchens, obviously, but greases and fats often end up in drains. Once cooled, they build up to create blockages. Some cities have had major build-ups hundreds of feet long underground.

Chemicals or solvents

Hazardous materials can often be dropped off at a household hazardous waste collection location or event. We offer resources and recommendations online, too.

Baby wipes

While commonly labeled as “flushable,” they are not. They do not break down the same way toilet paper does, and the result is huge balled masses of wipes in local sewers and sometimes treatment plants.

Condoms

Diapers

Cigarette butts

Butane lighters

It might seem like a strange item, but yes, they are often (wrongly) flushed in public restrooms.