I’ll be honest, I’m a little ashamed of that title. It’s not the classiest of titles, like “For Whom the Bell Tolls” or “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” although both of those books could be about going poop, if you made a few changes. I do feel alone when I’m in the bathroom, and a bell does toll when I’m done, so there’s that.
According to the King County Wastewater Treatment Division (I’m sure they have a dirty nickname internally), it cost north of $120,000 in 2012 to transfer 3,440 tons of trash from treatment plants to a landfill, none of which should be in the toilet in the first place. Top offending items included diapers, hair, grease, tampons, wet wipes, and of course, condoms (ewwwww). And you dislike your job.
Apparently, people are regularly putting these things in the toilet, causing an extra trip for the garbage (make that movie, Pixar). King County would like you to stop. That’s probably why they created a PR campaign called “Flushing Awesome,” which has its own graphic of a toilet waving you off, and a garbage-themed video that parodies Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” song. Oh, they brought out the big guns on this one.
So what’s the problem? Why can’t I just throw anything I want in the toilet? That’s what I do with my open window and no one made a music video about that.
While it’s very tempting to throw all our wet wipes and tampons and condoms in the toilet, and while they are technically flushable, they are in fact clogging sewer lines and damaging pumps and ruining some guy’s day. In addition to such things being expensive to fix, this can also cause raw sewage overflows into houses and businesses and local waterways. Bet you’re paying attention now (I’d just flush the raw sewage back down the toilet).
Now look, I’d be lying if I said I’ve never flushed any of these items down the toilet. I do it every Tuesday and Thursday, but now that I know it’s wrong, and can’t deny that I know it’s wrong, I’ll certainly give it a second thought. Probably. I’ll think about it on Wednesdays.
To be fair to all of us, toilets are just very tempting to throw garbage in. There’s no lid to lift up, they don’t smell bad, and you don’t have to ultimately take the garbage out later when it builds up. It’s win win! You just toss your goldfish or hot wheels in the smooth, porcelain bowl, press the handle, and watch as they sail away to their new life (I cried when I had to flush my hot wheels).
Frankly, I think it’s a little rude of the government to ask us to stop throwing these items in the toilet. Most of them — tampons, condoms, diapers, wet wipes, and hair, I guess — are typically disposed during highly emotional and tense moments, or at least after highly emotional and tense moments. How is anyone supposed to remember the “rules” at these times? Are we not human?
Look King County Wastewater Treatment Division, your name is way too long, but more importantly, some of those gross things belong in the toilet, even if they don’t. Did you even consider that people are flushing these things because they didn’t want someone else to find them? No, you didn’t, did you?
Try to have a heart, King County WTD, or did you flush yours down the toilet? See what I did there? This ending is not as clever as I seem to think it is.