Offers Lessons Learned from Wastewater Treatment Facility Collection Study in NYC

SEATTLE, Wash. (Dec. 22, 2021) – As families around the country continue to gather for holiday festivities, the Responsible Flushing Alliance (RFA) provides consumers with #FlushSmart tips so that celebrations can focus on family and not expensive and unhygienic plumbing issues.

According to the RFA, a nonprofit organization that partners with industry, wastewater agencies and other stakeholders to provide consumers with helpful information to keep our homes and communities healthy, all too often products that weren’t designed to be flushed down the toilet – like baby wipes, hard surface cleaning wipes, makeup wipes, feminine hygiene products, and paper towels – are being flushed, leading to home plumbing problems and major wastewater treatment plant issues.

"Do Not Flush" symbol
“Do Not Flush” symbol

To help avoid costly plumbing issues at home, as well as to protect the environment by reducing sewer blockages and sewage overflows, here are some simple #FlushSmart tips for this holiday season:

  • Provide a small trash can next to the toilet for non-flushable items
  • Offer guests disposable bags for non-flushable items such as diapers and baby wipes, paper towels, or menstrual products
  • Post a sign on or near the toilet with the “Do Not Flush” symbol as a reminder to not flush items not meant for disposal in the toilet
  • Look for the “Do Not Flush” symbol on packaging when determining the proper disposal of a product
  • When in doubt, throw it out!

Here’s a list of some commonly flushed items that should not be flushed. Remember, your toilet is not a trash can and just because something can pass through the toilet pipe does not mean it should be flushed. It actually is doing a lot of damage to the sewers, wastewater treatment facilities, and waterways.

Do not flush:

  • Baby wipes
  • Menstrual products
  • Hard surface or cleaning wipes
  • Makeup removing wipes
  • Cotton balls, pads or swabs
  • Sheets masks
  • Dental floss, teeth whitening strips, contact lenses
  • Hair or hair weaves
  • Paper towels or rags
  • Trash, cat litter,
  • Medicine, syringes

Check out this blog post on the most 10 most flushed but really non-flushable items.

The Responsible Flushing Alliance is dedicated to consumer education around keeping our homes and communities healthy through proper flushing practices, including what should not be flushed. The most recent educational material highlights materials removed from screens at a New York City wastewater treatment facility from two intercepts: one in Manhattan and one in the Bronx. The infographic illustrates why items not intended to be flushed should be disposed of either in the trash, recycled, or put in a compost bin, as appropriate, rather than flushed down the toilet.

The Responsible Flushing Alliance supports clear and prominent labeling of all items that should not be flushed so consumers have consistent information they need to make smart decisions.

About RFA:

RFA is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization dedicated to consumer education focused on what should and should not be flushed. 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. Member companies include: Albaad, ANDRITZ, DUDE Products, Essity, First Quality, Johnson & Johnson, Glatfelter, Kelheim Fibres GmbH, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Nehemiah Manufacturing, Nice-Pak, Papel Aralar S.A., Procter & Gamble, Rockline Industries, Sellars Nonwovens, Suominen Corp.