Unlike toilet paper, wipes don’t easily break down when flushed, even the ones labelled “flushable”. As they travel through the sewer system, wipes can clog sewer lines, pumps and even your own pipes. This can cause backed up pipes, flooded basements and sewage spills into our environment. No one needs to see that!
What does “flushable” mean?
There is currently no regulation to specify what products can be labelled “flushable”. So even if a so-called “flushable” product makes it down your toilet, it can still cause big problems for the sewage system. Cities around the world are working to develop an ISO standard to more accurately label whether or not products are truly flushable.
What can’t I flush?
Our pipes (and yours) can’t handle things like wipes, facial tissues, diapers, cotton balls, tampons, dental floss, paper towels and even hair (who knew?). Many of these items become stringy and bind together to block pipes.
What can I flush?
The only things that should go down your toilet are pee, poo and toilet paper. Remember - even if they say they’re flushable, wipes go in the garbage.
Wipes in the News
What do wipes do to city pipes? Take a look at some examples below to see the impact they’re having in Metro Vancouver. (And Google “fatberg” to see the damage that flushed wipes are causing around the world.)
'It's messy': Flushed wipes blocking B.C. sewers, CTV News, May 13, 2016
Don't believe the wipe hype: So-called 'flushable' products clogging pipes, costing millions, Vancouver Sun, May 12, 2016
Don’t believe the wipe hype: So-called ‘flushable’ products clogging Vancouver pipes, costing millions, The National Post, May 13, 2016
Adult toilet training tip #1: Don't flush wipes down the toilet, Vancouver Courier, May 25, 2016
Don’t flush these 11 bathroom etiquette tips down the toilet, Vancity Buzz, May 26, 2016
Never Flush Wipes: My Morning at a Metro Vancouver Wastewater Pump Station, Miss 604, July 14, 2016
'Flushable wipes' controversy: Do Canadians need toilet training?, CTV News, July 27, 2016
See for yourself what wipes do to pipes
View our video and visit our photo gallery below. (Warning: this is where it gets a little gross.)
|Worker removing wipes from sewage pumps.||http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/liquid-waste/preventing-problems-pipes/wipes/WipesPhotos/_t/Deragging_jpg.jpg||http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/liquid-waste/preventing-problems-pipes/wipes/WipesPhotos/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=3&RootFolder=/services/liquid-waste/preventing-problems-pipes/wipes/WipesPhotos||Worker removing wipes from sewage pumps.||Worker removing wipes from sewage pumps.|
|Wipes can clog equipment if not removed.||http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/liquid-waste/preventing-problems-pipes/wipes/WipesPhotos/_t/Dragging-close-up_jpg.jpg||http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/liquid-waste/preventing-problems-pipes/wipes/WipesPhotos/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=2&RootFolder=/services/liquid-waste/preventing-problems-pipes/wipes/WipesPhotos||Wipes can clog equipment if not removed.||Wipes can clog equipment if not removed. |
|Wipes and other materials don’t break down after flushing.||http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/liquid-waste/preventing-problems-pipes/wipes/WipesPhotos/_t/IMG_0716_JPG.jpg||http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/liquid-waste/preventing-problems-pipes/wipes/WipesPhotos/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=1&RootFolder=/services/liquid-waste/preventing-problems-pipes/wipes/WipesPhotos||Wipes and other materials don’t break down after flushing.||Wipes and other materials don’t break down after flushing.|
|60 lbs of wipes and other materials.||http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/liquid-waste/preventing-problems-pipes/wipes/WipesPhotos/_t/60lb-rag-at-Langley-2_jpg.jpg||http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/liquid-waste/preventing-problems-pipes/wipes/WipesPhotos/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=4&RootFolder=/services/liquid-waste/preventing-problems-pipes/wipes/WipesPhotos||60 lbs of wipes and other materials.||60 lbs of wipes and other materials removed at sewage