Help keep sewers clean

Everything we flush down the toilet or pour down the sink ends up in our sewerage system.

Help us and the retail water companies protect our sewerage system and the environment – keep the following household waste items out of the sewerage system.

In the bathroom

Certain waste products can cause blockages and clog up the sewerage system at our treatment plants.

Bin the following items rather than flushing them down the toilet:

  • plastics and wrappers
  • nappies and incontinence pads
  • sanitary napkins and tampons
  • surgical bandages
  • cotton buds
  • condoms
  • razor blades*
  • syringes*
  • non-biodegradable pharmaceutical products*

* Dispose of these items safely by having a bin next to the toilet or taking old pharmaceutical products to your chemist.

In the kitchen

It’s easy to dispose of fats, oils and food scraps correctly and avoid costly build-ups and blockages in the pipes under your home.

  • Wipe your pots and pans with paper towel after cooking or use the fat on your compost heap. Fats can solidify in drains and pipes as they cool so avoid pouring them down the sink.
  • Pour kitchen fats and oils into a container, seal then throw in the bin or compost.
  • Put vegetable peelings and other scraps in the bin or on the compost. Buy a sink strainer to stop scraps going down the sink.
  • Before rinsing your fruit and vegetables, remove the labels. These small, sticky labels are non-biodegradable so can’t be treated by the bacteria that breaks down sewage.

In the laundry

Many detergents contain phosphate, which can be very harmful to the environment and contaminate recycled water.

  • Reduce the amount of detergent you use, particularly if your clothes or dishes are not heavily soiled. The average household uses three times the recommended amount! Try liquid detergent as an alternative.
  • Buy detergents that are phosphate-free and friendly for the environment.

Paints, pesticides and other hazardous chemicals

Hazardous chemicals can corrode sewerage pipes, damage the environment and pose a health threat to the people who maintain our sewers because of dangerous gases.

Paints, paint thinners, fuels, lubricants, oils and pesticides should not be poured down the drain.

Sustainability Victoria’s 'Detox your home' service offers safe ways to dispose of these dangerous household chemicals. Alternatively, contact your local council or Sustainability Victoria (free call 1800 353 233) to find out when household chemical collections are scheduled in your area.

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