The Toilet is Not a Trash Can

A large, messy clump of items that do not breakdown and stick together being held by a hook

A toilet is designed to remove only human waste and bathroom tissue with each flush.

Sending other items down the drain threatens home plumbing, Arlington’s sanitary sewer system and ultimately the Water Pollution Control Plant, where wastewater is treated before being safely released to the ecosystem.

Tip: Keep a small trash can in the bathroom near the toilet and use it to discard all those things that only seem harmless to flush. 

Among the most common offenders:

  • “flushable” wipes – don’t break down easily despite manufacturer claims
  • facial tissue/paper towel – don’t break down nearly as fast as toilet paper
  • cotton swabs – don’t break down
  • dental floss – doesn’t break down and wraps around equipment
  • tampons and sanitary pads – don’t break down easily
  • condoms – don’t break down easily
  • pharmaceuticals/medicines – can contaminate drinking water
  • cat litter – does not dissolve in water
  • cigarette butts – don’t break down easily
  • contact lenses – don’t break down and contribute to microplastic pollution

Finally, as you protect Arlington’s sewer system when in the bathroom, don’t forget to be as vigilant when in the kitchen. Never send fats, oils, grease (FOG) down the drain.