Photo: Don't flush this!

Don't flush hair. It's a water treatment plant workers' nightmare. (Credit: Chapendra via Flickr)

What have water treatment plant workers ever done to you?

Make their jobs easier — and give the environment a break while you're at it.

Allow me to introduce the "unflushables":


Despite what the commercials say, tampons (and applicators) go in the garbage, ladies. Don't wait for "that time of the month" to change your ways. Omit disposables today.


Gentlemen, you're not off the hook. Condoms are garbage, too.

Subscribe to the Queen of Green digest


When did you last clean your hair brush? (That's disgusting.) Hygiene aside, compost or trash that hair and everything you rescue from the drain trap to prevent clogs.


Don't let me get in the way of adding a year to your life expectancy with daily flossing. Just don't flush it!

Disposable wipe-y products

There's a trio of common disposables — baby wipes, mopping pads and cleaning cloths. All will block sewers or harm the environment. It's time to make your own baby wipe solution and reuse cloths.

What other items make-up your city's unflushable list?

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

November 25, 2013

Read more

Post a comment


Feb 03, 2017
7:14 PM

Hi! I work for a city drainage division. I am one of the lucky people that hop down into the bottom of a lift station wearing PPE and I get to shovel the heavies of what has been flushed. It is badddd! I wish o could post some picture but for many they’d probably be hard to look at. The grease has to be chipped off the walls and pumps and you wouldn’t believe the hairballs! Recently a large trunk line was having a gate fixed and they pulled out a 700lb mass of hair and everything else! (That isn’t even the biggest some of these guys have seen) Even if you aren’t doing it for the environment do it for the fact that you could cause sewage to back up not only in your house but your neighbours house as well.

May 25, 2014
5:20 AM

Worms in your ‘sustainable living worm farm’ will eat your hair, plus vacuum cleaner or dryer lint too. Shave over a worm farm container!

Dec 11, 2013
1:23 PM

Are comments moderated on this site? And, if so, do you only post favourable ones?

Dec 06, 2013
12:02 PM

How exactly are you supposed to shave without using water? Even if you use a cup or bowl, you still have to rinse it. I am genuinely curious as I had no idea you were not supposed to flush hair.

Ahh and that also concerns ladies — we also shave! I’m not sure when I was supposed to try to convince my man not to use the sink… for me, shaving in the tub is way grosser.

Dec 04, 2013
8:37 PM

“Attention ladies: this is how to convince your man NOT to shave over the bathroom sink!” — Ridiculous. Over what else does a man shave but the sink?

Dec 04, 2013
3:10 PM

Funny I gather all of my hair when I shower and stick it to the wall lol. Then I wait till it is dry and put it in the garbage. Works pretty good I have b=never had a clog:)

Nov 25, 2013
7:19 PM

Please oh please oh please don’t flush paper towels or napkins either — only toilet paper is designed to disintegrate in the collection pipes — the others are often designed to “stay strong even when wet”. Medications are a terrible thing to flush as our treatment systems often can’t treat them and they can actually harm the bacteria used in secondary treatment processes not to mention fish and other wildlife in the receiving water. And the biggest pipe killers are fats, oils, and grease (FOG) — put them in a container to cool and solidify and then compost or trash.

The David Suzuki Foundation does not necessarily endorse the comments or views posted within this forum. All contributors acknowledge DSF's right to remove product/service endorsements and refuse publication of comments deemed to be offensive or that contravene our operating principles as a charitable organization. Please note that all comments are pre-moderated. Privacy Policy »