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Flushable Liners - To Flush or Not to Flush

Posted by on 7/19/2016 to Helpful Tips
Flushable Liners - To Flush or Not to Flush
Disposable liners make cloth diapering so much easier. Instead of having to dunk and swish a horrid poopy diaper, you can simply lift the liner out and flush it, poop and all. Sooo much easier! 

I have recently heard from multiple sources though, that NOTHING should be flushed down the toilet except for toilet paper, and (obviously) pee or poop. Since I care about my customers, and really don't want anyone to experience the thrill of a backed up sewage system, I decided it was a good idea to do a bit of research on the topic. This is what I have found: 

There are no regulations for what a product needs to be truly flushable

Are Flushable Liners Really Flushable? 

All of the flushable liners we sell have gone through rigourous testing to make sure they break down (the manufacturers care too!) However, a lot of these tests don't adequately replicate the actual conditions present in sewer and septic systems. For example, wipes etc. often get twisted up with other items in the pipes (e.g. hair, dental floss, grease - ew) which makes them stronger and more resistant to breaking down. Therefore, even if testing shows that a product breaks down completely and should be sewer safe, in practice it may not be. Most have a warning on the package to use care with old or damaged drains, or with septic systems, but what about other toilets? Should we be flushing them at all? 

So why are products labelled flushable? Because testing shows that they should be. Many municipalities are pushing for a set of standards that a product must reach in order to be called flushable, but currently that doesn't exist. Manufacturers are doing their due diligence to make sure their products are flushable, but without regulations, it is impossible to determine what their impact will be on the sewer system. 

Clogs do happen

Old and damaged drains are notorious for this, but it could happen anywhere, and they aren't pretty. Not only can it be costly to have clogs removed, but they can cause sewage to back up, possibly into your house. This is a situation that absolutely no one wants, especially if you are using liners to AVOID poop! As well, if you are on a septic system, having to have it pumped out frequently is not something you want to do. 

Municipalities are trying to spread information about what should be flushed

After a huge influx of flushable products on the market, the Metro Vancouver area had a huge increase in the number of nasty clogs at sewage treatment plants. So they came up with a very clever campaign to encourage people to pay attention to what they are flushing, in an effort to keep the sewer system running smoothly. Their website has lots of information about this topic, as well as some very cute poop cartoons. There is also a nice gross video if you ever wanted to see what a clog looks like! 

Should you use disposable liners? 

ABSOLUTELY! Disposable liners have been a game changer in the cloth diapering industry. Parents hesitant to try cloth diapers were convinced to try because poop disposal is not the disgusting nightmare they had pictured. They are awesome products that are well made, and do make cloth diapering much easier! I have tested all the ones we sell at Bumbini on my own kids, and love how soft they are, and how well they catch poop. 

However, after the research I have done, I recommend NOT flushing them. I would consider them to be a "disposable" liner as opposed to a "flushable" one, and dispose of them in the garbage instead of the toilet. They still fulfill their function making dealing with poop much easier, and I still highly recommend them to anyone not looking forward to dealing with poopy diapers! 

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