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What Not to Flush: Prevent Pollution and Save Time and Money with These Tips

January 4, 2024

For Immediate Release - January 4, 2024

Media Contact:
Amy Polaczyk, Wastewater Program Manager
Department of Environmental Conservation

What Not to Flush: Prevent Pollution and Save Time and Money with These Tips

Montpelier, Vt. – As the new year begins, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is offering a few tips on what not to flush down toilets and how to better dispose of that waste.

“Everything we flush – except water – is waste that needs to be dealt with to prevent pollution,” said Wastewater Management Program Manager Amy Polaczyk. “Knowing where and how to best dispose of waste can cut wastewater treatment costs, protect our health, and keep our environment clean.”

Most waste should not be flushed. That includes tissues, cotton swabs, floss, diapers, feminine hygiene products, coffee grounds, cat litter, wipes, excess household cleaners, cigarette butts, and medications.

Even products advertised as “flushable” do not break down and can clog toilets, household plumbing, sewer pipes and pumps, and septic tanks. This can result in sewage backups and overflows that cause pollution and cost homeowners and the public extra money.

Vermonters should only flush human waste, soap, and toilet paper.

Use these tips to dispose of waste the right way:

To learn more, visit the DEC Wastewater Management Program. If Amy Polaczyk is not available at 802-490-6185 or, contact Michelle Kolb at 802-490-6165 or


The Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for protecting Vermont's natural resources and safeguarding human health for the benefit of this and future generations. Visit and follow the Department of Environmental Conservation on Facebook and Instagram.