Canada is, unfortunately, still one good class action away from “flushable” being forcibly removed from many advertisements, so everything from baby bum wipes to cat litter can be — and are — labeled as flushable. But are these products actually safe to flush or are they wreaking havoc on your plumbing?
While in the States, lawsuits have already been launched against brands who falsely advertise their products as flushable, Canadians have yet to take such actions. Despite that, municipalities across the great white north are telling their citizens to dump their “flushable” wipes, litter, and more in the garbage can instead of washing them down the toilet. This is because, regardless of what the marketing tells you, our sewer systems are only built to handle human wastes and toilet paper. These other products do not break down and form huge clogs in the plumbing that must be manually removed.
Vancouver spent hundreds of thousands in taxpayer money removing wipes from the sewer system in 2015 alone, and it’s predicted that across the country, $250 million per year is wasted in clog cleanup costs.
What Makes Toilet Paper Special?
When toilet paper becomes wet, it immediately begins to break down and dissolve. You can see this characteristic in action by placing a couple squares of toilet paper into a cup of water and letting it sit for a few minutes. Flushable cat litter, on the other hand, clumps into a rock-hard block of cement that does not dissolve. Similarly, if you repeat the paper-in-water experiment with a flushable wipe, you’ll immediately notice that it does not dissolve or break down the way toilet paper does.
So What Belongs in Your Toilet?
Some municipalities are taking a humorous approach to “potty training” their citizens about what does and doesn’t go into the toilet. But we’ll save you the time of watching their educational videos: no convenience item invented in the last 20 years belongs in the toilet. Oils, grease, and spoiled foods do not belong in the toilet — that’s what your compost bin is for. Diapers, tampons, pads, and all other toiletries (other than actual toilet paper) do not belong in toilet. Simply put, the only things you should ever be flushing are bodily wastes and toilet paper.
In an ideal world we’d be able to trust what companies say about their products. Canadians would be able to see that a product is labeled flushable and know that that product is actually safe for the sewer system, but this isn’t the case. And these products don’t just cause problems for municipalities; they can cause clogs within your home’s plumbing as well.
If you’ve used any “flushable” products and you’re now experiencing problems with your plumbing, our team of experience professional Calgary plumbers can help! We are able to use special cameras to inspect your plumbing and see what and where the problem is. Our friendly plumbers can then use targeted solutions to get your pipes running smoothly once again. Give our Calgary plumbing team a call today at 403) 452-2911 to get started.