Pollution, air contamination, smog, powerplants– we are all familiar with the negative affects these factors have on our environment. Countless studies continue to reinforce the dangers associated with global warming and water pollution. They are content to blame factories, automobiles, planes and other “fossil-fuel burning agents” for our deteriorating environment. While many are interested in saving and preserving the atmosphere, most are unaware of the daily habits we engage in that hurt our surroundings. The simple misuse of a few household items can cause more damage than we may have expected. The improper disposal of the following items can negatively affect our environment:
1. Cooking Oils
Kitchen drains are often misused. It is not advisable to pour bacon grease, meat drippings, shortening, frying oil or any greasy foods down the disposal or drain– even with hot water. No matter how much hot water or soap is used to clean out the sinks, these fats and oils harden and congeal while passing through the pipes and sewers. Over time this causes serious, costly, back-ups; problems with the sewers and potentially your home.
Proper ways to dispose of cooking grease include wiping up the mess with paper towels or scrapping the waste directly into the trash. If you are living in the East Bay and have large amounts of waste to dispose, you can drop it off at the East Bay Municipal Utility District treatment plant at 2020 Wake Ave. in Oakland where it will be converted into renewable energy to power the plant.
2. Cleaning and Gardening Products
These products have the potential to pollute our water supply because chemicals contained within cannot be fully removed through wastewater treatment.
These should never be flushed down the toilet. Pharmaceutical drugs cannot be completely removed through traditional wastewater methods. They may contain unknown or harmful substances that can negatively effect the water supply and aquatic life. To properly dispose of these items simple get rid of then at your designated collection site.
4. Items we Flush Down the Toilet
Personal hygiene products and household items can damage your homes plumbing and plug-up the treatment plant’s equipment. It also has the potential to pass along toxic materials into the water supply. If if it says “disposable” or “flushable,” DO NOT flush the following items down the toilet:
- flushable wipes (they’re not as flushable as you think!)
- sanitary napkins, tampons and applicators
- paper towels and rags
- dental floss
- cigarette butts
- kitty litter and doggy waste bags
These items don’t deteriorate when passing through the sewer but tangle up into barriers and obstructions that lend towards sewer back-ups. The only safe things to flush are human waste and toilet paper. For more information about pollution prevention visit: http://www.ebmud.com
If you love your community as much as I love mine, then you probably want to do whatever you can to preserve it for your kids and future generations. By observing these few simple rules, we can keep our environments clean and safe for years to come.