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Toilets are not trashcans!

  before you flush
Want to inform others how to help keep our sewers clear and flowing?

Download and print the Think Before You Flush flyer to put up in your home or business. Also available in chineseEspañol and Filipino.

Please support our efforts and help to protect the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean from water pollution.

Top 5 Things Not to Flush

  1. Flushable wipes: The biggest headache for our wastewater treatment plants! Wipes are NOT biodegradable, and have to be manually removed from the equipment at our wastewater treatment plants and sent to the landfill. Check out more in this video.

  2. Prescription medication: Flushing prescription medicines down the toilet may not be removed during the wastewater treatment process and could heavily affect our wildlife after it is discharged into the bay and ocean. See more information about medicine drop-offs in San Francisco.

  3. Feminine products (tampons, pads and panty liners): These products are designed to expand and absorb moisture, making it difficult for them to travel through the sewer pipes and difficult to break down.

  4. Disposable diapers: They could clog and disrupt our wastewater cleaning process. Diapers belong in the trash can. There is an alternative option with compostable diapers.

  5. Floss: This product is not biodegradable and loves to catch itself around any and everything that might travel down the same path in the sewers. Please keep dental floss out of our sewer lines by properly disposing of it after use in the trash bin.
If Toilets are not trashcans, then where do things go?

high efficiency toiletWhat to Flush:

Help us keep wastewater treatment costs down, keep our sewer lines clear, and protect the environment by remembering that your toilet is an "only-human-waste-and-toilet-paper-zone."

Only flush the 3 Ps...

  • Pee
  • Poop
  • Paper

garbage can for compostWhat to Compost:

  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Hair
  • Make-up pads
  • Paper towels

bin for garbageWhat goes to Landfill?

  • Flushable Wipes: Baby, Cleaning, Makeup
  • Feminine Products: Tampons, Pads, Panty Liners
  • Condoms
  • Disposable Diapers
  • Kitty Litter
  • Dental Floss
  • Band-Aids and Bandages


For more information on what you can recycle, compost or put in trash cans, please visit SF Department of the Environment's webpage on Zero Waste.

For any hazardous waste and/or toxic products or materials, please do not flush them down the toilet or throw them in the trash. Please visit: for proper disposal information. Additional information can be found at Recology.

Last updated: 12/2/2019 8:21:43 AM