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Did you see the latest news on wet wipes? It was kind of hard to miss; over 5,000 wet wipes were found near the Thames! That is because people have been flushing them down the toilet rather than putting them in the bin.
I’ve recently been made aware of an eco-campaign by UKDN Waterflow to re-educate people about what we can flush down our pipes. They created a survey focusing on the UK’s attitude towards drains and flushing habits.
The results are quite shocking!
‘At least one in four people in the UK pour cooking oil down the drain and almost half of people pour sauces, whilst one in five allow their drains to fill with hair and almost 15% of women flush at least one of the following: tampons, applicators and wrappers.’
What Happens to Things That Go Down your Sink or Toilet?
Do you know what can and can’t go down your sink or toilet? I think we have all been guilty in the past of thinking ‘I’ll just throw it away’ but where is away? Anything that we discard ends up somewhere.
When you pour anything down your sink or toilet it goes down the drain, into a pipe which takes it to a larger sewer pipe under the road.
That sewer pipe then joins a network of other sewers and takes the waste to a sewage treatment works. That is just the beginning of its journey.
That waste then needs to be screened which involves removing anything that shouldn’t have gone down the pipe to start with. (Baby wipes, fat, oils, goldfish etc)
The waste then goes through the primary treatment stage which involves removing organic solid matter from the water. Then comes the secondary treatment stage, removing all of the nasty bugs and bacteria.
Finally, it goes through the final treatment stage where the wastewater is passed through a final settlement tank. Once the wastewater has gone through this whole process and is clean its then returned to local rivers and streams or in the sea.
Related Post: How To Create a More Sustainable Home
Do You Pour Any of These Down your Sink?
According to the results, millennials are 6 times more likely to flush to pour cooking oil down the drain compared to the over 55 age group. When you pour cooking oils, grease or fat down the drain they solidify in the pipes which causes blockages.
Not only is this bad for the environment but it’s also going to cost you money in the future to get your pipes unblocked. The best place to put these items is in your bin. You may need to wait for them to solidify in a container and then put it in the bin.
As well as the everyday household items that seem to end up in our sewers there were also some slightly more unusual things too…
‘While ten percent of respondents admitted to flushing goldfish, three percent admitted to popping another late pet down the potty – the humble hamster.’
Have you ever Flushed any of the Following?
So the question is what do you flush?
Related Post: 10 Top Tips for Living a Low-Carbon Life at Home
Do You Put Any Of The Following Down the Toilet?
Michelle Ringland, Head of Marketing for Lanes Group recently wrote about the huge impact the cigarette buts are having on the environment. The filters in the cigarette butts are made from a plastic called cellulose acetate which can take up to 10 years to decompose.
‘Research released by Water UK in December 2017 confirmed that wet wipes, whether ‘flushable’ or not, contribute to 93% of the material causing sewer blockages. With 14% of people openly admitting to putting used wipes of one type or another down the pipes.’
What are your thoughts on the results above? What do you flush down your toilet? Do you feel we need better education for people on what should and shouldn’t go down our drains?
This is a collaborative post with UKDN Waterflow Ltd. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.