Sometimes it can be tempting to toss something into the toilet rather than putting it in the rubbish bin, but flushing the wrong things down our septic systems can cause a lot of damage.
Not only can it clog up our own toilet, leading to expensive visit from a Melbourne plumber, but it can also cause damage to sewage treatment plants further down the line and wider damage to ground water, wildlife and the natural environment. The following is a list of things that should never be flushed down a toilet or drain.
These include things like baby wipes, tissues, paper towels and moist towelettes; all of which are thicker and sturdier than toilet paper. They are not designed to break down in water and will clump together with other debris, causing blockages in S bends and septic systems.
These are designed to be absorbent and are too thick for normal plumbing. They too will clump together with other debris to create blockages, resulting in expensive plumbing bills.
Because these are made from latex, they do not break down and instead fill with air, creating floating blockages in sewage treatment plants.
Cotton balls and cotton swabs do not break down and are responsible for massive blockages in septic systems and S bends. They gather together in soggy lumps and are very difficult to shift.
Because they contain all kinds of chemicals, old prescription medicines flushed down the toilet can poison ground water, destroy the bacteria that breaks down sewage and kill wildlife downstream.
Not only do these waste a lot of water to flush, but their filters contain toxic chemicals which end up in our water supply. They should be binned and never flushed.
These are made from plastic, which is non-biodegradable. Not only will they cause blockages in your toilet, but they enter our rivers and oceans, where they remain intact for thousands of years.
Fat and grease
We’ve all been guilty of tipping this down the sink at one time or another, but despite its liquid appearance when hot fat and grease congeals in the drain and creates huge islands of debris, known as fatbergs, which clog up septic systems and treatment plants.
As well as cat poo, this contains sand and clay, which are natural clogging agents. Cat poo can also contain parasites that can infect marine life further down the chain.
If we stopped and thought about it before we flushed and realised that what we were about to dispose of could block the toilet, damage the sewage treatment plant, poison our future water supply, damage the environment and kill fish and marine life, surely we would take those few extra steps and drop it in the rubbish bin instead.