Seattle, Wash. (Apr. 22, 2022) Today, the Responsible Flushing Alliance (RFA) published a new infographic highlighting some of the strangest objects that have been pulled out of municipal wastewater treatment catch basins in three California areas. A Spanish version of the infographic is also available.

RFA partnered with the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, Orange County Sanitation District, and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to identify the foreign objects that are damaging our sewer systems. Using Earth Day as a launching pad, RFA and the wastewater industry are hoping the infographic brings greater awareness to the challenges caused by improper waste disposal.

Consumers are urged to look for the “Do Not Flush” symbol on the packaging of wipes that are not intended by the manufacturer to be flushable. This includes baby wipes, household cleaning wipes, makeup removal wipes, and other wipes made with plastic materials that do not disperse in water. A 2019 report from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) estimates that inappropriately flushed wipes cost nearly $47 million a year in additional operating costs for California wastewater agencies.

“Sustainability is more easily attained when consumers and county residents understand the importance of responsible flushing and waste disposal habits,” said RFA President Lara Wyss. “RFA is urging Californians to reflect on this infographic and consider the long-term effects of careless disposal, whether that be outside or in the privacy of their own home bathroom.”

This infographic comes as part of a strategic campaign funded by RFA’s members, advocating for the correct disposal of health, hygiene and cleaning products. Often, non-flushable wipes cause significant clogs and plumbing issues in the home and in wastewater treatment systems. Non-flushable materials found in rainwater and wastewater catch basins exemplify the severity of the impact products not designed to be flushed can have in damaging our infrastructure.

RFA and its members continue to find new ways to educate consumers and bring awareness to Californians about the harm done to the environment when health, hygiene and cleaning products, including disposable wipes, are improperly flushed. The campaign comes just ahead of California’s Assembly Bill 818 enforcement of wipes manufacturers’ labeling of disposable wipes with the “Do Not Flush” symbol, set to go into effect on July 1, 2022.

RFA maintains a dedicated coalition of member companies in the nonwovens industry, wastewater groups, and nonprofits focused on water quality, sanitation, and personal care products. RFA’s leadership in promoting sustainability standards, responsible flushing, and AB 818 compliance helps put California families and communities first.

For more information about RFA, visit https://flushsmart.org/annual-report/. If your company or organization is interested in learning more about how to become a member of RFA, please contact [email protected].

About Responsible Flushing Alliance

The Responsible Flushing Alliance (RFA) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization dedicated to consumer education focused on what not to flush. RFA’s goal is to change consumer behavior to help reduce damage to our nation’s sewage systems caused by objects and materials not designed to be flushed.


Lara Wyss
[email protected]