What Not to Flush

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What should you flush? Only human waste and toilet paper.


Not...Wipes, Diapers, or Feminine Hygiene Products

Please never flush wipes, diapers, or feminine hygiene products, even if they are labeled “flushable.” These products do not disintegrate in water as quickly as toilet paper and often cause clogs in public sewer mains. Put these items in the trash, not the toilet.

See the results when Consumer Reports and the Water Environment Federation tested so-called flushable products. If wipes can clog large sewer mains, they can definitely clog your home’s sewer lateral, requiring you to pay a plumber to clear the blockage.

Learn more: 15 Things You Should Never, Ever Flush Down a Toilet

Not...Medications or Sharps

Please do not dispose of expired or unused medications in the sink or toilet. Many drugs cannot be completely removed from sewage during wastewater treatment. Traces will end up in the San Francisco Bay where they could harm fish and other aquatic life. Our community offers many safe disposal options for drugs that protect you, your family, and our waterways. Printer-friendly guide to proper drug disposal.
Medications: By law, police must oversee disposal of controlled substances, which include sleeping pills, pain killers, behavioral drugs, cough syrup with codeine, and other drugs with great potential for abuse or addiction (see complete list). Law enforcement agencies in our area hold drug take-back days once or twice a year. In addition, you can take controlled and non-controlled drugs (NO sharps) to these locations year around:
 These locations accept non-controlled drugs only:
photo of hand placing syringe in a red sharps disposal containerSharps: To protect the workers who handle our trash, it is illegal in California to put medical “sharps” in the trash. Bring needles, syringes, lancets, Epi-pens, etc. to a collection center in an approved sharps container (sold at pharmacies and available online). Never flush sharps because they can injure wastewater workers. Safe disposal options in our community include:

Note: these options are for home-generated drugs and sharps only. State law requires businesses to use a licensed medical waste hauler.

Not...Hazardous Household Chemicals

Many common products contain hazardous chemicals that can pollute our groundwater, creeks, rivers, and bays.

Never dump these hazardous wastes into the trash, sink, toilet, gutter, or storm drain:

  • Batteries, fluorescent lights bulbs and tubes, mercury thermometers, and thermostats
  • Solvent-based glue, paint, strippers, wood preservatives, and nail polish
  • Antifreeze, engine cleaners and degreasers, gasoline, and motor oil
  • Fertilizers and pesticides
  • Pool and spa water and pool chemicals
Visit the websites below to learn how to safely recycle or dispose of household hazardous waste. 

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