When nature calls, be kind to your toilet

Whether you leave the toilet seat up or down or hang the toilet paper over the roll or under, when nature calls, we should all agree there are certain things that should never be flushed down the toilet.

York Region is sharing that message as part of the United Nations-recognized World Toilet Day on Nov. 19. About 4.5 billion people live without a safe toilet says the World Health Organization. World Toilet Day is about taking action to ensure everyone has a safe toilet by 2030.

There are only three things you should flush: ‘number one,’ ‘number two’ and toilet paper.

“Many of us know we should never flush wipes or sanitary products down our toilets but did you know you should never flush floss, facial tissue, fats, oils or grease?” York Region officials ask in a media release. “Flushing any of these items down toilets and drains can lead to backups in our homes, problems at our wastewater treatment facilities and can even cause sewage to overflow into our lakes and rivers.”

The Region is committed to protecting water sources and infrastructure for clean, safe, affordable water. Wastewater is produced every time we take a shower, do laundry or flush the toilet. That water is collected in sewers and treated at wastewater plants to remove contaminants before being returned to the environment. Highly-trained staff operate and monitor those systems and perform thousands of tests to ensure our water is safely returned to the lake.

The Region is working with the Ontario Clean Water Agency and the Clean Water Foundation to promote the ‘I Don’t Flush’ campaign, which encourages residents to properly dispose of pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Unused or expired pharmaceuticals should be brought to a local pharmacy instead of flushing them down the drain or put in the garbage. Flushable wipes and personal care products should be put into the garbage, while sanitary products can be put into the green bin.

Visit york.ca/idontflush for more information about what to flush.

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