Items that should never be flushed down the toilet

As the 22nd of March 2017 celebrates World Water Day, we’re highlighting the importance of making freshwater resources available to everyone on the planet.

While there is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this, thanks to bad economics and poor infrastructure, every year millions of people die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene. What’s more, there are still more than 663 million people in the world living without a safe water supply close to their home.

While we may take our fresh water supply for granted here in the UK, there are a number of things we’re doing on a daily basis which can interfere with the safety of the water we drink and bathe in.

One of the biggest culprits is flushing things down the toilet we really shouldn’t be. Most personal healthcare and beauty products don’t break down like toilet paper does and instead collects in our sewers and forms blockages. This results are often costly maintenance, repairs, flooding and environmental pollution.

If you’re unsure about what is and isn’t safe to flush down the toilet, below we have compiled a helpful list.

  • Wet wipes. Regardless of whether it’s cleaning wipes, toilet wipes, beauty wipes or baby wipes, you should never flush them down the toilet even if it says biodegradable or flushable on the packaging. Even if something is biodegradable, this doesn’t happy instantly. It can take months to break down and if everyone is doing this, sewers quickly become blocked.
  • Cotton wool and cotton buds.
  • Paper towels. Paper towels don’t break down as fast as toilet paper because they generally tend to be much thicker.
  • Dental floss. A tiny piece of dental floss may seem like nothing but floss isn’t biodegradable and will eventually clog up sewer pipes.
  • Cigarette butts. Many people throw cigarette butts down the toilet to eliminate the risk of starting a fire. The materials used in cigarettes never break down however so again, they end up clogging sewer pipes.
  • Fat, oil and grease. Around £15 million is spent every year clearing blockages caused by these products which is why it’s now in fact illegal to flush them down the toilet. They can cause severe problems at sewerage pumping stations and can also cause significant pollution in waterways and domestic flooding.
  • Sanitary products. Nearly half of all women say they flush tampons down the toilet but as they’re not biodegradable, you really shouldn’t. They’re a big cause of sewers getting clogged up and it’s not just big sewerage systems which are affected either. If your own sewerage pipes become blocked, you could end up with a big mess in your garden or home. All sanitary waste, not just tampons should be thrown away, not flushed away.

If you own a business, you must provide sanitary disposal bins in female bathrooms. Initial’s Signature Lite Sanitary bin offers users a safe, discreet and hygienic washroom experience. This product also contains Biofresh for odour control and ensures that your environmental and legislative concerns are taken care of.



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