Cllr Deirdre Forde, Lord Mayor of Cork with Margaret Attridge of Uisce Éireann with the Wet Wipe Monster asking people to pledge to the Think Before You Flush campaign.

Don’t use your toilet as a bin!

A yearly campaign to help people get a handle on what should and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet was launched last week.

The message behind the Think Before You Flush campaign is simple: only flush the 3Ps – pee, poo, and paper. Everything else, and we do mean everything else, should go in the bin.

Flushing unsuitable items down the toilet can result in blockages and the possibility of sewage related litter ending up in our waterways and on our beautiful beaches. This litter can have a major impact on Ireland’s marine life.

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Deirdre Forde signed the Think Before You Flush pledge last week on World Home Economics Day, the theme of which this year is waste literacy. It focused on understanding the origins of waste and how to properly dispose of waste. The Think Before You Flush campaign focuses on understanding the impact of flushing sewage-related waste and how to dispose of such waste properly.

If waste such as wipes or cotton buds are flushed in error, they can end up travelling from the toilet, through the wastewater network, into our lakes, rivers and the ocean and end up on the beach as litter. This waste is the third largest category of beach litter and can pose a danger to wildlife.

While the number of people regularly flushing the wrong things down the toilet has decreased by 15% since 2018, there is still more work to be done.

Elaine from Clean Coasts spoke about the event: “It was great to meet the Lord Mayor of Cork and have her support for the campaign. Signing the pledge is simple but spreading the message of the campaign makes a big impact. The more people who sign up the closer we get to moving to 0% who flush in error.”

Margaret Attridge of Uisce Éireann added: “Everyday thousands of unsuitable items are flushed down toilets across Ireland instead of being put in the bin. More than 110,000 people in Cork still use their toilet as a bin. This causes blockages in our wastewater systems, ultimately leading to sewer overflows and pollution in our rivers, on our beaches and in the ocean.”

To sign the Think Before You Flush Pledge and help spread the message, simply on to By pledging your support, you will be taking individual responsibility to behave more conscientiously regarding the disposal of sanitary waste, while letting people around you know about the campaign and the simple ways in which they too can help.