Many household items we buy these days have been redesigned to be more environmentally friendly. Some paper products will decompose better and help reduce the carbon footprint, while other items may be recycled instead of thrown away with no hope of reuse. As we obtain such items and need to dispose of them, we may be inclined to get rid of them in different ways. Certain hygiene products, for example, can now be flushed down the toilet where in the past that was ill advised. In fact, there are still a number of things one should not flush down the commode, regardless if you think it is organic or not a risk to your plumbing.

Some of the things on the following list may appear obvious, nonetheless it is good to emphasize what should not be flushed. The potential for damage to your bathroom plumbing cost end up costing you a lot of money and headaches, especially if you are not able to install a new toilet. It’s important to note, too, that every unnecessary flush wastes a few gallons of water, and can jack up your water bill if you let those flushes add up.

You definitely do not want to waste those flushes on the following:

Diapers – This remains a huge no-no. Even newborn and preemie diapers have the potential to clog your drains and cause you major plumbing problems. Also, not all diapers are biodegradable. If you would prefer not to have dirty diapers in the house, consider keeping your diaper pail outside or try cloth diapers, which are more eco-friendly.

Cigarette Butts – Back in the day we may have sneaked a few smokes in a public restroom, though smoking is now banned in many restaurants and other places around the country. Even so, you don’t want to toss that butt in the bowl and flush it away. Cigarettes are processed with all sorts of chemicals which get into the water system this way.

Hair – You might think, what’s wrong with flushing hair? Many of us try to save a few bucks by trimming our bangs, and the temptation to flush the strands is strong. Hair clogs cause problems in sink pipes, and the same holds true for the commode. Hair should be disposed of in the garbage or, if you plan to cut long lengths, you may want to consider donating it to a charity that makes wigs of human hair.

Medications – Expired meds, vitamins, syrups, and similar items should not be flushed. In the water system, these could prove toxic and harmful.

If you are not certain about what can go down a toilet and what should be placed in the garbage, consult with your local plumber before you end up calling one in to fix your toilet due to a clog or damaged bowl.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Norfolk Virginia plumbers.

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