Man flushes food

Can You Flush Food Down the Toilet?

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Kevin Jefferson

November 26, 2021

Have you ever wondered whether you can flush food down the toilet? Maybe you’re already disposing of food scraps by just throwing them into your toilet bowl and flushing them away? If so, have you ever considered the implications of doing something like that? 

Flushing food scraps down the toilet is something that should be avoided at all costs. Not only can it result in a clogged toilet, but it can also cause major issues in the wastewater treatment system. Homeowners who have septic tanks should also know that flushing food down the toilet can lead to a complete system failure. 

Here’s why dealing with leftovers in this way is not recommended: 

It Damages Home Sewer Pipes 

Home sewer pipes

A vast majority of clogs take place in the pipes that are right there in your home. The U-shaped pipe, which is situated right behind the toilet bowl, is the first place where the food leftovers are likely to get stuck.

And if the food doesn’t create a clog there, it can do so in one of the numerous tees, elbows, and other bends in your pipework. The food can and will build up over time, creating a clog that will cause sewage to overflow into your bathroom. So, one day, you may wake up to a sewer odor in your bathroom.

To deal with the clog, you’ll probably have no other choice but to hire a plumber. That’s because not all clogs can be “snaked” – if a lot of food gets stuck in the pipe, it needs to be unburied, replaced, and reburied. Sounds quite costly, doesn’t it? That’s because it is – clogged piping can be tremendously expensive to repair. 

But it doesn’t have to come to that. Just keep in mind that the damage that food flushing can cause can be catastrophic and use plastic garbage bags instead. 

It Damages City Sewer System

Most folks don’t really think about their city’s wastewater treatment facility. Until something really bad happens and affects everyone in the city, that is. However, no wastewater treatment facility in any city has to go through malfunctions and overflowing as long as the population isn’t throwing just everything they don’t need into their toilets, including food leftovers. 

One of the biggest contributors to sewer overflows is residential flushing of fats. When people flush grease, oil, and fats down their toilets, these substances don’t mix with the water – instead, they float on top of it and gradually solidify as they’re cooling down. 

Over time, this solidified oil, fat, and grease create clogs. And that’s not the end of it – these clogs act as glue and pick up other items going through the pipes, which only worsens the problem. The result of all this can be sewer waste overflowing from the manhole covers. 

It Damages Residential Septic Systems 

Those flushing anything besides water, toilet paper, and human waste down into their septic systems are almost certain to experience a lot of issues at some point. Residential septic owners have to be extra careful and never flush things that aren’t supposed to be flushed. 

Food flushed down the toilet adds to the solid layer that is already present in the tank. The result of this is the increased frequency of pumping that is needed to keep the septic tank up and running. Furthermore, food can significantly upset the tank’s bacterial balance and break the digestion-and-breakdown system that exists there. 

It should also be mentioned that the food waste such as, for example, crushed eggshells can clog one of the tank’s two baffles, more specifically the incoming baffle. This can cause the sewage to come back into your bathroom. 

In the worst-case scenario, food flushed down the toilet can even cause the septic tank to back up into one’s backyard. As you can already guess, it costs a lot of money to fix something like this. What is more, it can spread the smell of sewage throughout the neighborhood and completely ruin your backyard. 

The Conclusion

Food scraps

Even though flushing food down the toilet may seem like the quickest and easiest way to deal with your leftovers, there’s not a single good reason why you should do something like that. 

If you have any old, smelly food that you want to get rid of, simply put it into a plastic bag and then put the whole thing into your freezer. Leave it there until the garbage day and then throw it out. Fill glass containers and plastic bottles with fats and oil and put them into your garbage bags. 

Flushing food waste, fats, oils, and grease is guaranteed to cause a lot of issues sooner or later. These issues can take place in your backyard septic system, in your pipework, or even in the city sewer system. To avoid such problems, simply throw away the non-flushables into garbage bags instead of your toilet – it’s as simple as that.

Now, can you flush hair down the toilet? And how about medicine, can you flush pills down the toilet?

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