To celebrate World Toilet Day, we are creating 25 new Think Before You Flush communities across the UK to tackle the problems sanitary products cause in our sewer network. We are also challenging the manufactures of sanitary products to remove plastics from their products.

The knock-on environmental costs from disposing of sanitary products down the loo are an utterly disgusting 253,000 sewer blockages, resulting in raw sewage spills and flooded properties. Sanitary items such as wipes, sanitary towels and tampons block sewage screens, pumps and pipes within sewerage systems, reducing the flow and effectiveness of the system.

The economic costs are also astronomically high. Water UK have estimated that the water companies spend in excess of £80 million unblocking sanitary waste from sewers.  These funds could otherwise be spent on improving water quality and reducing bills.

The Think Before You Flush initiative has two strategies to reduce sanitary waste on beaches and decrease raw sewage spills:

  • Creating Think Before You Flush communities to help engage the public, raise awareness of the issue and impacts whilst advising the public on responsible bathroom behavior.  We have developed Think Before You Flush stickers, posters and information leaflets to remind people not to use the toilet as a wet bin and these resources are prominently displayed throughout the communities.
  • Challenging the companies producing sanitary products to remove plastics from their products, to better educate their customers on responsible disposal and, in the case of wet wipes, to ensure they never go down the loo, ever!

Surfers Against Sewage Regional Reps and passionate volunteers will be working with hotels, cafes, pubs, community groups, schools and water sports festivals to ensure the Think Before You Flush message is seen in bathrooms throughout the following communities, reminding the public to Think Before You Flush!

  • Croyde
  • Braunton
  • Castlerock
  • Newgale
  • Broadstairs
  • Portrush
  • Sidmouth
  • Exmouth
  • Falmouth
  • Bude
  • Clevedon
  • Hayle
  • Cromer
  • Southwold
  • St Just
  • North Berwick
  • Macduff
  • Rhosneigr
  • Exeter
  • Aberdeen
  • London
  • Brighton
  • Newquay
  • St Ives
  • Porthleven

Surfers Against Sewage will also support volunteers setting up their own Think Before You Flush communities, simply email jack@sas.org.uk for a free TBYF resource pack.

(The 253,000 spills also include the impacts of fats, oils and greases (FOGs) as the water companies cannot differentiate between Sewage Related Debris (SRD) and FOGS).

Surfers Against Sewage, Campaign Officer, Jack Middleton

Sanitary products disposed of down the loo are associated with over 250,000 sewer blockages and costs more than £80 million to clear up. This devastating impact can be completely offset if we can change our bathroom behavior. Remember, Think Before You Flush.