Keep trash out of pipes
Don't flush trash down the toilet! Learn about how you can help prevent pollution and keep water clean.
Don't flush trash
Use a trash can instead of the toilet to dispose of all wipes, hygiene products, tissues and other items that don’t break down.
Even if the label says “flushable”, wipes should never be flushed! Trash can build up in the sewer system and cause overflows, which damages property, hurts the environment, and can make people sick.
Last year, King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division spent over $120,000 just to take the wipes, tampons, and other trash that came into our treatment plants to a landfill. That’s enough trash to fill two semi-trucks every week! Plus, clogged pipes and jammed equipment means increased costs in operation and maintenance.
Putting the wrong things down sinks and toilets might also cause expensive plumbing problems in your home or business. Toilet paper and human waste are the only things that should be flushed!
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency demonstrates how toilet paper breaks down in water, but wipes don’t.
Info for those on septic systems : Household pipes and septic tanks are only designed to handle toilet paper.
Don't dump grease
- Use screens to keep hair, fruit stickers and other stuff out of drains and pipes.
- Scrape out greasy bowls, pots, and pans before washing.
- Keep fatty foods and meats out of the garbage disposal, and put cooled, solidified grease in the trash.
What happens when grease is washed down the drain?
When grease is washed down the drain, it sticks to the inside of sewer pipes (both on your property and in the streets). Over time, it builds up and can block an entire pipe. Garbage disposals do not keep grease out of the pipes, they only shred it into smaller pieces.
The results of a grease-blocked sewer pipe can be:
- Sewage overflows in your home or your neighbor's home
- The average cleanup cost is about $3,000
- Possible contact with disease-causing organisms
- An increase in operation and maintenance costs by the local sewer district and King County, which causes higher sewer bills for customers
Visit King County Solid Waste's What do I do with...? website for information about safely disposing of fats, oils, and grease.
Visit Seattle Public Utility’s Cooking Oil and Grease website to learn more and help spread the word.
Don't flush medications or chemicals
Don’t put unwanted medications down the toilet or sink. Worried about keeping discarded meds away from kids or pets? Many pharmacies across King County now take back expired or unwanted medications for safe disposal.
Got paint, pesticides and other household chemicals you no longer need or want? King County’s Wastemobile and Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Sites are a much safer alternative to putting these things down the drain or in the trash.
Blog: Clean water stories
View more articles about Don't Flush That!.
- King County Solid Waste Division's What do I do with ...?
- Find your local garbage, recycling, or yard waste hauler
- Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County
- Take Back Your Meds