Your plumbing system is delicate, which is why it’s important to take caution when putting household items down the drain or flushing them down the toilet. This is because certain items can clog your drains and lead to expensive plumbing repairs.
They can also negatively impact the environment. While water treatment plants remove a lot of pollutants from waterways, harmful substances can still end up in lakes, rivers, and oceans. Read on to learn what items should not go down the drain and how to dispose of those items safely.
When making coffee in the morning, it may seem easy to chuck the grounds right into the sink and rinse them away. However, coffee grounds stick together and can clog your pipes over time. Instead, pour them into a container and put them in the trash. Alternatively, you can add them to your compost heap and feed to your plants.
Grease & Fats
Avoid pouring butter, oils, meat fat, and bacon grease down the drain. This is because they solidify and can stick to your pipes, which may cause sink backups or leaks. These plumbing issues can be costly. Dispose of them in the cans in the trash or bring them to a facility that recycles cooking oil.
It might seem like a no-brainer to pour paint down the drain after you’re finished using it. However, paint is toxic and can contaminate our waterways and the environment. It can also damage your pipes and garbage disposal. Instead, dispose of paint at your local hazardous waste facility.
If you’re looking to get rid of old medicine, avoid throwing it into your kitchen sink. This is because medication can damage the environment. For example, antidepressants can disrupt the metabolism of marine life and antibiotics can kill beneficial bacteria in local environments. As an eco-friendly alternative, consider giving unused or unwanted medication to your local pharmacy or take-back programs.
You may think eggshells can be easily ground in the garbage disposal, however, they can become granular, rough, and abrasive, which can blunt the blades. Eggshells can also cause obstructions in your pipes. For these reasons, it’s best to throw them in the garbage.
Produce stickers may seem harmless but they can cause serious issues with your plumbing. The adhesive on the stickers can cause them to stick to the pipes. They could also get trapped in the filters and pipes of water treatment facilities. If produce stickers make it past these systems, they can end up in our water supply. To dispose of them properly, throw them in the trash.
Microbeads are small pieces of plastic that are found in many health and beauty products, such as exfoliators. They can end up in oceans and harm marine life. Because it’s difficult to prevent microbeads from going down the drain, consider using natural products that do not contain them.
To learn more about what household items should not go down the drain, see the accompanying resource.
Infographic created by
Tunnel Vision Pipeline Services, a CIPP lining company