The strange things Australians flush down the toilet revealed

Most people would think the message of only flushing bodily waste and toilet paper would be getting through but apparently

Most people would think the message of only flushing bodily waste and toilet paper would be getting through but apparently not: in fact some people in Australia are using their toilets as a rubbish bin.

Sydney Water has revealed all the strange things people think are acceptable to flush.

“As comedian Kitty Flanagan remarked on ABC’s The Weekly, many people regard the toilet like ‘a garbage bin with water in the bottom of it’,” Sydney Water spokesman Peter Hadfield said, reports News Corp.

Mr Hadfield said small family pets were one of the common things found in the wastewater system. On top of that, some people think it’s okay to flush clothes and bed linen, while others have flushed cigarettes, fat and oil from the kitchen and even mobile phones, though it’s unclear whether that’s deliberate.

But one of the biggest no-nos is flushing wet wipes. These increasingly popular items have caused huge headaches for the wastewater system as they are not flushable at all.

Mr Hadfield said if you lined up all the wipes removed from the wastewater system, you could stretch them between Sydney and Los Angeles.

“Wet wipes are a 500 tonne per year problem for Sydney Water because that is how many wet wipes we remove from our system”.

Just wet wipes along are costing Australia’s entire water industry more than $20 million.

“The impact on the environment can also be dramatic, with overflows caused by sewer blockages impacting on local creeks, rivers and even beaches,” Mr Hadfield said.

In fact, 75 per cent of sewer blockages are because people are clogging the pipes with wipes – so let’s make sure we don’t do it!

Back in February, a massive blockage made up of wet wipes and sewage was pulled from an underground pipe near Newcastle.

via Hunter Water

Hunter Water’s Nick Kaiser said at the time, “The wet wipes are being advertised as basically an extra way to freshen yourself up after the bathroom.

“The whole flushable wet wipe issue is actually a global issue”.

The blockage had weighed about a tonne and took four hours to remove…and was 7 metres long.

Mr Kaiser said “The safest way to think about what you can put down your toilet is the three Ps — pee, paper and poo.

“Everything else should stay out of the sewer. Unfortunately, there are no actual standards for what is flushable.

“So you’ll flush the toilet and the wet wipe will disappear, but it just doesn’t break down”.


Share your thoughts below.

  1. Pamela  

    Companies who advertise non-flushables as flushable should be fined to cover the cost of clean-ups.

    Advertising needs to be changed to advise a small rubbish bin or plastic bag be kept in the toilet for these non-flushables and that they be disposed of in the general waste bin weekly.

    Do nothing – and nothing changes!

  2. Lorraine Walker  

    Maybe the government should be pressuring and supporting the manufacturers of wipes in developing a biodegradable product.

  3. Danielle  

    It clearly states on wipes packets that they are NOT flushable, so it goes back to maybe many Aussies are illiterate, many are just plain lazy, & many are just stupid.

    But as we in 21st Century, surely the various wipes Companies’ white-coated boffins can produce a flushable wipe.

  4. Herma Little  

    Use the “Wet wipes” from Aldi. They are Bio-degradable

  5. As an ex plumber I cleared a sewer choke at a single womens house age about 40, the trench filled up with sanitary rags and condoms. She was very embarrassed.

  6. The word flushable should be banned, in fact all wet wipes should be banned, we managed with out them before they came on scene

  7. Susan Gabriel.  

    In our self catering holiday home in France I’ve put a notice up in the three toilets saying that only loo paper can be flushed as the house has a septic tank and if the drains are blocked it’s Pierrot, my partner, who has to unblock it, as they meet Pierrot upon their arrival, we hope this makes them not want to be embarrassed by him finding anything other than loo paper in the drains.

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