How important is paying attention to what goes down your pipes? Very. When you ignore the label or improperly dispose of non-flushable items, you could end up paying an average of $300-$450 to repair your pipes—or upwards up $15,000 to re-pipe your full house (ouch!).

We’re breaking down 3 simple ways to start making an immediate impact at-home and throughout all of your bathroom stops. Join us in taking the time to pay attention and #FlushSmart.

1. That Doesn’t Belong Here

Did you know that paper towels, ear plugs, and packaging wrappers cannot be flushed? During our collection study we discovered of the 1,700+ samples collected that 52.8% of those non-flushables were paper towels.

How to keep non-flushable items out of the toilet? Always keep a trash can in the bathroom for easy access to toss items that shouldn’t be flushed.

2. Get Smart

Start to familiarize yourself with the most common, non-flushable items that make it into your pipes. Below is a list of the top five items that we found in our collection study:

  • Paper towels
  • “Do Not Flush”-labeled wipes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Trash (dental floss, clothing, condoms, toys)
  • Non-flushable makeup wipes

These items are non-flushable and are still making their way to the wastewater plants. Approximately 99% of items that clog the systems at wastewater plants are non-flushable. The materials they’re made of are not able to break down correctly, resulting in damaged pipes, building fatbergs and threatening our environment.

Some of these may seem like obvious items not to flush and others may seem like second nature to toss in the toilet after using. Now that you know what shouldn’t be flushed you can start to change your poor flushing behaviors.

3. Look and Follow

How many household items do you think have the “Do Not Flush” symbol on them? On your next visit to the bathroom, start your own investigation. See how many items the symbol and ones you may have expected to but don’t.

You may be surprised to find out your non-flushable labeled wipes were labeled with the symbol. Or maybe you had no idea that the fibers in makeup wipes or cotton swabs don’t break down in the waterways. The first step to making an impact is looking for the symbol and following the instructions.

Together, when we all take simple steps to start changing our at-home flushing behaviors, we immediately start making an impact. Look for the “Do Not Flush” symbol, #FlushSmart, and when in doubt throw it out.

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.