a letter board that says "there is no such thing as a flushable wipe"

Flushing items that don’t belong down our toilets and drains can lead to backups in our homes, problems at wastewater treatment facilities and can even cause sewage to overflow into our lakes and rivers, here are 6 things you should never flush.

1. Disposable Wipes (of any kind)

NO MATTER WHAT IT SAYS ON THE LABEL, there is no such thing as flushable wipe!

These days you can’t seem to get away from one time use disposable, they are everywhere, from baby wipes to cleaning wipes to pre-wet towelettes, makeup wipes, there is a wipe for  pretty much everything.

Canadian municipalities estimate it costs them at least $250 million a year to remove giant sewer clogs, known as fatbergs, that form when wipes and other solids that don’t disintegrate get glued together in the pipes by substances such as kitchen grease.

One of the biggest ever reported was found last February in Liverpool, England. As of July, workers were still trying to extricate the 400-tonne, 250-metre-long fatberg from a city sewer pipe.

Besides causing clogs, wipes can actually damage wastewater equipment.

They grab the impellers inside of the pump, and the pumps burn out.

In recent years, wastewater treatment officials around the country have been begging people to stop flushing wet wipes, even if manufacturers say it’s safe.

In August Canada’s Competition Bureau began digging into complaints that companies that market “flushable” wipes are making false claims about their products.

Friends of the Earth Canada and EcoJustice, on behalf of six individual Canadians, filed a complaint earlier this year about companies that use the flushability claim, after a Ryerson University study found nearly two dozen wipes labelled as “flushable” did not break down after being flushed.

Although the Competition Bureau won’t publicly confirm any investigations, the complainants say bureau officials recently told them an inquiry is proceeding. I am looking forward to seeing what comes of this.

Please stop flushing these, please!


Instead, use a cloth or make your own reusable wipes. SO easy, so cheap and so much better for the planet!

2. Tampons & Sanitary pads (same goes for diapers) 

They create the same issues as wipes. You should never flush a tampon (used or not) or its applicator, both go in the garbage. The same goes for Sanitary pads. Some cities in Canada accept used tampons and pads in the green bin. Check with your local municipality. The wrap the pad comes in and the applicator go in the garage.

I made the switch to cloth pads a while back, here is my extensive guide.

3. Condoms (male and female)

Condoms are garbage, too.

4. Hair

Can also clog your drain and create blocks, this goes in the garbage too.

5. Floss

No matter the brand, vegan, plastic-free etc. It goes into the garbage! This is an important swap to make as research has shown the there are Toxic Chemicals Found In Dental Floss.

6. Medications

Should never ever go in the toilet, in many cases these are considered to be household hazardous waste and should not be placed in the garbage either. The safest way to dispose of expired prescription drugs and over-the-counter health care products is to take them back to your local pharmacy (or vet clinic if you have pet medications).

Proper disposal eliminates the risk of accidental poisoning and keeps oceans and landfills free of pollution.

6 Things You Should Never EVER Flush

Candice Batista

Candice Batista is an award winning Environmental Journalist and one of Canada’s leading eco advocates. Her career spans national and international media outlets, where she has used her background in environmental studies and media & communications to produce and report on various environmental and climate issues for primarily television and digital audiences including Huffington Post, The Globe & Mail, The Weather Network, CityTV, Rogers Television, The Pet Network, iChannel, and CTV, where she is currently the National Eco Expert for the stations number 1 daytime talk show, The Marilyn Denis Show.
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