To Flush or Not to Flush

November 3rd, 2010     2 Comments »

A few years ago, I was at the zoo with my kids and just happened to end up next to another family with young children, exhibit after exhibit.  And as all parents do, at each exhibit they were pointing out things for their children to look at, answering their kid’s questions, just generally being the walking encyclopedia that kids of a certain age seem to rely on the adults in their lives to be.  While standing in front the bonobos, a type of chimpanzee, this parent continually referred to it as a monkey.  This made me slightly nuts. Although it is probably a mistake that is made a thousand times a day at a zoo, it made me crazy that this misinformation was being passed along to children eager for knowledge.

So we can’t do anything about correcting the misinformation at the bonobo enclosure (It’s an ape people!  Most monkeys have tails!).  But there is some misinformation out there that is a persistent source of frustration to the staff here at AKE.  Certain items being marketed and labeled as “flushable”.  Really, if you think about it, this idea of something being flushable means exactly that, you can flush it.  It won’t get stuck and overflow your toilet.  Where it goes and what it does from that point is apparently a mystery.

Well, there are some people at AKE that would love to solve that mystery for you.  These flushable items are the same things that destroy pumps, clog bar screens, float (andsometimes sink) in tanks and collect in trash traps.   And somebody (us) eventually has to clean those our (yuck).  So what is a person to do?  You can start by referring to our handy, dandy common sense guide for when to flush and when to toss.

  • Is is advertised as being “strongor that it “holds up to messes”?  Toss
  • Does is seem to fall apart easily if you rinse it under water?  Flush
  • Is it marketed as “absorbent” or “leak-proof”?  Toss
  • Is it eaten or worn on the body?  Toss
  • Was it once alive?  Toss (or for Pete’s sake, bury)
  • Is it made from a fiber similar to fabric?  Toss
  • Does it have “wings”?  Toss

The reality is, the amount of things that you should flush is really quite small.  And while we certainly recognize that we have a serious issue when it comes to the amount of trash that goes to our landfills, the solution is not to redirect it to our waterways.  Hopefully, this is one bit of misinformation corrected.  Now about those monkeys…

Do not flush this bonobo...





2 Responses to “To Flush or Not to Flush”

  1. You are a very smart person!

  2. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one today..

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