The header image for "toilet trouble" features a white toilet and funky wallpaper

Toilet Trouble

In these uncertain times of toilet-paper-hoarding, having to get resourceful, and disinfectant wipes being used by the truckload, there are worries that our already struggling sewage systems will be unable to cope if people take to flushing all this. Here I am, writing to you live from isolation to remind you NOT to flush any kind of wipe down the toilet. Please, do not flush anything but toilet paper and excrement. That means no kitchen roll, no baby wipes, no surface wipes – this all needs to go in the bin.

The only things that should be flushed down the loo are 3Ps: poo, pee and (toilet) paper“.

No loo roll? No problem!

It’s not the end of the world if you find yourself without toilet paper in the near future. For quite some time, people were dealing with their business without it! Get back to your ancestral roots! Here are a couple of ideas:

Person holding many loose toilet rolls. Photo by Anna Shvets

  • Sluice/have a wash

Groundbreaking, right? But there really is no more effective way to clean up after you go, than to have a good wash! People have been doing it for a long time. If you’re fancy, use your bidet.

  • Use a sponge/cloth.

The Romans cleaned up after a number two using a sponge on a stick. If it’s good enough for the Romans, its good enough for you.

  • Leaves?

If you’re too scared of your own bum to clean it any other way, then nature’s toilet paper may be for you. Do not flush these down the toilet, the compost may be a better shout.

Think of the sewage system:

Sewage systems are fast moving environments, there isn’t a lot of time for anything to biodegrade down there. Not to mention the mostly anaerobic conditions do not benefit degradation. This means that even things that are biodegradable, will NOT breakdown in the sewage system. This includes thick paper products like paper towels. And it means that wipes (yes, even the biodegradable/flushable ones) are out of the question.

A picture of a dark underground tunnel

If we do not treat our sewage system with care and respect, we can cause a lot of problems for ourselves, and for the environment. It can be very easy to adopt the mindset of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when it comes to the sewage system – as it’s supposed to get rid of stuff. Unfortunately, it is only designed for some stuff (i.e. poop), anything else will cause blockages like the massive fatbergs that cause the whole system to crumble. Blockages like this can cause flooding and pollution. Not ideal. So respect your sewage system and bin it instead.

Only flush the three Ps: poop, pee, and (toilet) paper.

I hope you and all your loved ones are well! Wash your hands, stay safe, and stay home!  We all have a role to play, so ensure that you act responsibly.

Lots of love,

Jessica x

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