Where the non-flushables go

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In 6 things to keep out of the toilet and drain, we shared a list of six things that don’t belong in drains or toilets and why. But we didn’t talk about how to dispose of them properly. Here’s a list of where non-flushables go, like garbage and chemicals, instead of down pipes. After all, toilets (and drains) are not trash cans.

Toilet Bowl Into Water Closet . 3d Illustration
  1. Feminine products
    Place a trash receptacle in your bathroom next to the commode for tampons, pads, applicators or plastic wrappers. Go a step further and make a sign for guests encouraging proper disposal of these items in your bin.
  2. Flushable wipes
    Same as feminine products – put these “un-flushables” in a trash receptacle in your bathroom. Be sure to educate all users in your home or business that, unlike their name, these items actually cannot be flushed.
  3. Other trash
    Obviously, most of these items also belong in the garbage bin. Kitty litter and pet poo can go in the larger, outdoor waste management receptacle. 

    Most children’s toys likely end up in drains accidentally, so proactively talking to your kids about how toilets work might help. Yes, toilets can make things disappear, but they cannot make them reappear like your local magician.
  4. FOGs
    FOGs – or fats, oils and greases – go in the garbage or grease traps but need to be handled properly before disposal. Cooling FOGs down after cooking and then scraping from dishes and pans into the garbage works well. As does pouring warm FOGs into a sealable container and then placing in the trash. For another option, the City of Madison also accepts most types of cooking oil for recycling.
  5. Pharmaceuticals
    Proper disposal of unwanted or expired medications can avoid accidental poisonings or unsafe release of pharmaceutical compounds into the environment. The Safe Communities MedDrop Program is a safe way to handle getting rid of medications and there are drop-off locations at pharmacies and police stations around Dane County. Many communities also organize medicine drop-off events and Drug Take-Back Days once or twice per year for local citizens to get rid of unwanted pills, liquids, creams, powders, patches and vitamins.
  6. Household chemicals
    In the Madison area, household chemicals, fuels, paints, batteries, lubricants, poisons and other hazardous waste can be taken to Dane County Clean Sweep, which is located at the landfill. The District also partners with other municipalities and organizations to host Clean Sweep disposal events at regular intervals throughout the year.

It’s important to dispose all garbage, chemicals, grease and pills appropriately. Only flush the 3 Ps (pee, poo and TP) and be smart about what you put down your drains. Now you know. 

Check out our blog for more helpful tips and be sure to follow @MadMetroSewer on social media.

Article written by Amy Steger