This post is sponsored by York Region.

You’ll see it in the movies – children with tears streaming down their faces as they bid farewell to their  beloved goldfish as Mom proceeds to flush Goldie down the toilet. Or you may see an adult tormented by the decision of whether they should dispose of the addicting medicine that offers them pain relief, ultimately pouring a bottle of pills down the toilet.

Even in real life, and in our own homes, we’ll often find ourselves wondering whether we should be disposing of things down the drain. In my own home when my boys were little, they almost caused a minor flood in the bathroom by emptying a box of tissues into the toilet!

There are certain things which should never be flushed down the toilet. As part of World Toilet Day, York Region is reminding residents of the important role we all play when it comes to protecting our environment and our waterways.

Flushing items that don’t belong down our toilets and drains can lead to backups in our homes, problems at our wastewater treatment facilities and can even cause sewage to overflow into our lakes and rivers.

Here are the items that should never be flushed down the toilet:

  • Baby or facial wipes
  • Sanitary products
  • Dental loss
  • Cotton swabs
  • Facial tissue
  • Medications
  • Fats, oils and grease

It is important to remember toilets are not garbage cans. Flushable wipes and personal care products should be put into the garbage, while sanitary products can be put into the green bin.

There are only three things that can be flushed – number “1”, number “2” and toilet paper.

Wastewater is produced every time we take a shower, do laundry or flush the toilet. This water is collected in sewers and treated at wastewater plants to remove contaminants before being returned to the environment. Highly trained York Region staff operate and monitor these systems all day, every day, performing thousands of tests to make sure our water is safely returned to the lake. York Region remains committed to protecting our water sources and infrastructure for having clean, safe affordable water for our growing communities.

So when nature calls, let’s be kind to our toilets and the pipes used to carry away our waste and put these other items where they belong – not down our drains.

We all have a role to play in protecting our waterways. Make sure to tell your children too, and show them this video to remind them what they can and can’t flush!

For more information about the dos and don’ts of what to flush, visit york.ca/idontflush.

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

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