cropped view of man throwing crumpled plastic bottle in toilet bowl in modern restroom with grey tile

What Happens If You Flush Plastic Down The Toilet

Many people have the nasty habit of flushing plastic down the toilet, and then ending up with major consequences. Although tiny bits of plastic may seem easy to go down the sewer pipes, they have the ability to create major problems both for you and the whole environment. So, what really happens if you flush plastic down the toilet?

Flushing plastic down the toilet might lead to blockages in the sewer system in your home, and it can seriously damage the drainage pipes by creating clogs. Moreover, flushed plastic can affect multiple properties, and that may cause a major flood in a neighborhood. Also, it can contribute to pollution since plastic can reach drinking water.

If you ever become tempted to get rid of many plastic things by flushing them down the toilet, you should think twice before doing so. Flushing plastic down the toilet can be seriously harmful and damaging, and this article will explain why.

What To Expect If You Flush Plastic Down The Toilet?

You have probably heard that people flush many things down the toilet including plastic. It is important to point out that the toilet is intended for toilet paper and human waste only, therefore, flushing down various items is not the wisest thing to do. You may think that tiny pieces of plastic will go down the drains easily, and no harm will be done at all.

However, before you flush plastic down the toilet, you should consider the damage that plastic can do when it is flushed down the sewer system. Namely, plastic can cause damage both to you and to the environment. While the latter might not be felt immediately, the former will definitely impact you directly.

To understand what exactly you should expect if you flush plastic down the toilet, we have prepared a list that will help you acknowledge the risks more easily.

Impacts on your home/ neighborhood Impacts on the environment 
Clogs in the sewer systemDamage to the marine life
Health hazards caused by sewage spillsPollution to rivers/ lakes/ streams
Sewage and drain floodingPollution to drinking water 
Damage to multiple propertiesDamage in the sewage system plant

Impacts On Your Home Or Neighborhood

If you flush plastic down the toilet, you are the first one that will feel the damage this will cause. First, you should expect your toilet to get clogged, even though the plastic you have flushed is significantly small. Plastic is not degradable like toilet paper, so if it gets stuck it has the ability to create a clog in the pipes.

In addition, you should expect that this clog will not happen in the toilet bowl so you can unclog it by yourself. On the contrary, plastic can get stuck further in the sewer pipes, and usually, the clogs are enhanced by other things you flush down the toilet. For instance, food remains and oil that you flush down the toilet contribute to the clogs and make them even more complicated.

Moreover, a damaged sewer system can lead to floods, not only in your home but in multiple properties, even the whole neighborhood. This will create health hazards that can be extremely dangerous.

Lastly, you should bear in mind that this kind of damage to the sewer system cannot be repaired by yourself. You will need to call a professional plumber, and you will definitely have to spend a small fortune on the repairs.

Impacts On The Environment

Flushing plastic down the toilet also impacts the environment in great proportions. You may not feel or see this directly, but it will definitely happen. For instance, the plastic you flush down the toilet will easily end up in the sea or the ocean.

This affects marine life because they confuse plastic for food and eat it. This kills a lot of marine life and makes many sea creatures extinct. On the other hand, there is a possibility that plastic ends up in the food chain, meaning that it gets back to us, although we are not aware of it.

Moreover, flushing plastic down the toilet is another way to contribute to the pollution of lakes, rivers, and streams, and make it even worse. Also, this is a way for the plastic to find its way to the drinking water and seriously pollute it. This means that we are not safe either way.

What is more, the flushed plastic can cause damage to the sewage system plant and create a serious problem that is not easily repaired. In fact, this can hurt the sewage system which is of great importance to every household, meaning that nobody wants damage that may be beyond repair.

How Should You Get Rid Of Plastic In A Safe Way?

As you have seen, there is neither excuse nor reason to flush plastic down the toilet. The toilet can only degrade toilet paper, therefore, other items should not be flushed at any cost. There are different ways in which you can get rid of plastic without hurting the systems in your home, and without affecting the environment.

Dispose of plastic in a responsible and safe way:

  1. Recycle plastic that is marked as recyclable or biodegradable.
  2. Throw away non-recyclable plastic in a general waste bin.
  3. Reuse plastic that allows you to do that.
  4. Use less plastic to reduce the amount of plastic used in your household, so you will not need to dispose of it more frequently.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind Of Items Can Cause Damage To The Toilet System?

Everything that is not toilet paper or human waste, is a potential problem for the sewer system. Usually, these things include sanitary pads, band-aids, cigarette butts, food remains, chemicals, and so on.

How Can You Notice That Your Toilet Is Clogged With Plastic?

Usually, the first sign of a clogged toilet will be a weak flow of water. However, later you may experience sewage spills and floods.

Can You Flush Things Down The Toilet That Are Marked As Flushable?

Even if something is marked flushable on its package, for instance, flushable wipes, you should still not take that risk. Not all sewer systems are the same, so you never know what can cause a clog or another type of issue in your toilet.

Final Thoughts

Flushing plastic down the toilet is a bad idea since it can cause many issues both to your household and the environment. There are particular ways that allow you to get rid of plastic in a safe way, so you should opt for them. Always remember the risks about which you read in this article, and spare yourself from the trouble of clogged toilets and damaged sewer systems.

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