No one really wants to spend time thinking about what goes down the toilet, however, it’s important to understand the dos and don’ts when it comes to what can be flushed – or else the repercussions can be crappy (literally!)

We are fairly modern when it comes to our sewerage systems, unlike other countries where you still have to put your used toilet paper in bins, but there are still things that can cripple the system and cause all sorts of messes, from fatbergs to overflowing toilets, that are horrendous for anyone to have to deal with.

Affinity for Business The Unflushables! How to look after the toilets and drains in your workplace.

Photograph: The Mirror

To stop any drainage disasters, we let you know about the unflushables to watch out for below…….

Fat, Oils and Grease

Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) may not seem harmful but if they’re not disposed of correctly, they can be very damaging to the sewage system. When FOG gets down the drain, they combine with other unflushables including wet wipes and food waste to create dreaded fatbergs which harden and block pipes. If the photo below hasn’t traumatised you enough, imagine being part of the team that breaks fatbergs down!

Affinity for Business The Unflushables! How to look after the toilets and drains in your workplace.

Photograph: Thames Water

It’s so important for restaurants and catering companies to get rid of their used FOG appropriately. Luckily, there are a few different ways to do this. Firstly, you can recycle waste cooking oil into biodiesel fuel or electricity. There are handy recycling locations all over England for you to take airtight containers of oil to. Search the Recycle Now website to find your nearest centre.

Affinity for Business The Unflushables! How to look after the toilets and drains in your workplace.

Grease traps, are also a great way to stop FOG entering the network, especially if you’re a business that uses oils and fats on a larger scale. Grease traps sit between the kitchen sink and your drain to trap the FOG before it gets the opportunity to go down the drain.

Training staff in catering and restaurant businesses is essential to making sure that all members of staff are aware of how to dispose of FOG. It’s also a good opportunity to practice the different ways to get rid of them and making sure that it is done safely in the workplace.

Wet wipes and cleaning wipes

Affinity for Business The Unflushables! How to look after the toilets and drains in your workplace.

One of the main causes for toilet blockages and fatbergs are wet wipes and cleaning wipes. Whether it’s the cleaner throwing used disinfectant wipes into the loo after cleaning it, or customers disposing of wipes into the communal toilets within a restaurant or cafe, it’s important to make sure that every business has visible signs deterring people from flushing used wipes down the toilet. Our top tip is to provide bag it and bin it options in the toilet, to encourage users to do just that.

Food

Food is another major no-go for the drains, especially for businesses that are in the catering and hospitality industry. One of the most affordable ways to stop food waste from making its way down the sink is by placing a drain strainer in your plug holes. This will catch any food that has been stuck to your dishes that didn’t quite make it to the rubbish – once it’s full, simply empty the strainer out into the food waste bin.

Cotton buds and sanitary products

Affinity for Business The Unflushables! How to look after the toilets and drains in your workplace.

Not only do cotton buds and other sanitary products block up the sewers and add to the cause of fatbergs, but the plastic in them can pollute rivers and oceans too, making it a dangerous place for marine life to live. Businesses that use these products commonly, for example, beauty salons, hospitals and GP surgeries should remember to place signs in their public toilets and provide training for staff.

We find using the 3 P’s is a useful way to help you remember what can and can’t go down the loo: Pee, Poo, and (toilet) Paper. These are all fine to go down the drain.  Anything else, you may need to consider bagging and binning it to avoid it coming back up again….

By working together, we can free up our sewers from the unflushables and help to reduce the damage they cause to our sewage systems.

And if you would like to learn more about fatbergs, click here to find out the do’s and don’ts on ensuring your business isn’t contributing to fatbergs.