Many people view their toilet as a magical black hole. You put stuff in, you flush, and it disappears. Unfortunately, this mindset can lead to massive problems, not only in terms of environmental damage but also localized damage to your plumbing and septic tank.

If you use your toilet as a trash can, chances are that your habits will catch up with you sooner or later. To avoid the potential embarrassment that comes with hiring a plumber to fish your trash from your plumbing, avoid flushing these items down the toilet and put them in a bin instead.

Feminine Hygiene Products

Feminine hygiene products, including tampons and pads, aren’t designed to break down when you flush them. It’s best to have a closed-lid trash can for these items. Sure, it may seem a bit inconvenient, but it’s less trouble than a clogged toilet.

Wet Wipes

Wet wipes are becoming an increasingly popular option to keep yourself squeaky clean after a visit to the toilet. However, while some brands may claim that their wipes are flushable, the truth is that most of them aren’t and can quickly clog a drain. In fact, regulations will soon be coming into effect that all wet wipes should be labeled as un-flushable on the packaging. So, throw them in the bathroom trash instead.

Dental Floss

Most floss is made of nylon or Teflon, both of which are substances that don’t break down easily. Not only is dental floss dangerous to animals when it reaches the environment, but it can also contaminate drinking water with a potentially toxic set of compounds known as polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Due to its stringy nature, dental floss is also really good at gathering up debris, which results in massive clumps that will clog your drain and damage your septic tank.

Grease

You should never, ever pour grease down any type of drain, including your toilet. While it may appear liquid while it’s hot, grease usually becomes a solid at room temperature. When it solidifies, it can combine with other stuff that’s in your drain and clump up, causing massive problems. Instead, collect your grease and use it in your other cooking or wait until it congeals and throw it in the trash.

Q-Tips

Cotton doesn’t break down in water, and the plastic part of Q-Tips can easily cause blockages in a drain. This is especially true if you flush multiple Q-tips or cotton balls down at the same time. Cotton is an absorbent material and can expand in your drain, causing stoppages in your pipes, which are expensive and difficult to remove.

Medication

Many of us have trouble figuring out what to do with expired medication. You don’t want to throw it in the trash since you run the risk of other people getting a hold of it, so instead, you flush it down the drain. Unfortunately, flushing pills down the toilet results in toxic contamination of both groundwater and the environment in general.

The DEA has recently introduced a national ‘Take Back’ day where you can go to one of the many collection sites and hand in your expired medicine. You can then be sure that it’s correctly disposed of. Alternatively, you can take your expired medication back to any pharmacy. They’ll be able to either dispose of it for you or advise you on the correct way of disposing of it.

Paper Towels

Paper towels are designed to retain their structure even when wet, so unlike toilet paper, they won’t break down easily when flushed down the toilet. The best way to save money and the environment is to use cloth rags instead of paper towels. If you do prefer to use paper towels, throw them in the trash instead.

Diapers

You have to be very determined to try and stuff a diaper down a toilet. Just because it contains human waste doesn’t mean it belongs in the loo. They make special air-tight trash receptacles if the smell is an issue for you.

Cigarette Butts

Cigarette butts are actually really hard to flush down a toilet and end up still floating in the bowl after multiple flushes. Not only are they incredibly unattractive and smelly, but they can also contaminate your entire system with toxic chemicals that will then leech off into the groundwater supply. Throw your butts in a bin and dispose of them correctly once extinguished.

Keep Your Plumbing in Good Working Order

Despite appearances to the contrary, your toilet isn’t a waste disposal unit, and in general, bathroom plumbing is susceptible to clogging if you use it for anything else than human waste. Even thick toilet paper can clog up a toilet if used excessively.

By being responsible and disposing of your junk correctly, you do a good deed, both for the environment and for your plumbing system. 

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Ken and Jamie Starman are the owners of Front Range Septic. Ken and his wife, Jamie, purchased the business in October 2007. They saw a need to provide quality septic & grease trap pumping services to the Northern Colorado region.

Ken grew up in rural Nebraska making him familiar with septic systems. Prior to the owning the septic business, he owned his own custom agriculture business for 22 years. His knowledge of dealing with different types of septic systems and how to properly maintain them has grown over his 10 years of operating the business. He has made it his goal to educate clients on their septic systems to ensure that they are getting their tank properly serviced. In addition, he understands the importance of working with restaurants and facilities that have grease interceptors to prevent costly shut downs due to improper maintenance of their grease traps. He attends waste water trade shows for continuing education and to keep current with new regulations and trends in the industry. He enjoys the various clients he has worked with over the years and looks forward to continued growth in the future.
His wife, Jamie, helps him in the office making sure the required documentation is kept up to date and current for licensing in Weld, Larimer, Morgan and Adams counties. She handles the accounting and marketing for the business and occasionally answers the phone when Ken is busy.

They both believe in providing excellent customer service. When you call Front Range Septic you will be speaking with the owners. They don’t just want your business once; they want you to be a lifetime customer.