We automatically turn on water faucets dozens of times each day. The water swirls and whoosh – it’s gone! But when was the last time you thought about what goes down the drain?
Since the invention of the garbage disposal (which claims to grind even the hard stuff such as small bones and fruit peels), people have turned the sink drain into a common destination for kitchen waste. People often throw or pour many substances down the drain without thinking of the consequences to pipes or the environment.
Putting trash down the kitchen sink (or any other drain in the house) can cause pipes to clog, burst or backup. This may eventually lead to expensive, hazardous sewage spills in your home, business, streets, rivers and ocean that also harm the environment. Here’s how to properly dispose of the most common things that should never go down the drain:
Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) – FOG sticks to the interior surface of pipes, hardens over time, and may cause clogs, backups or sewage spills. FOG includes the obvious offenders such as cooking oils, meat juices and shortening, but salad dressings and sandwich spreads, dairy products, sauces and butter/margarine can also cause problems. Another bad idea is pouring hot water and detergent down the drain with grease. The grease only temporarily breaks up and will eventually cling to pipes as it cools. The best way to get rid of FOG is to let it cool/harden, mix it with other absorbent materials, place it in a bag or container, and then throw it in the trash. For liquid cooking oil, pour into a leak-proof container (plastic bottle with a secure top in which cooking oil came) and bring it to one of the City’s free Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Events held on the third Saturday of each month. Call 652-4525 Monday through Thursday to make an appointment for the next event.
Food – The best way to use food scrapes is to compost what you can and wipe or scrape the remnants into the trash. Use a drain screen in your sink to catch any remaining bits of food as you wash the dishes. Always use your garbage disposal sparingly.
“The only thing that should go down the drain is what comes out of the faucet!”
Coffee grounds and eggshells – Should be put in the trash and never sent through the garbage disposal. These items also make great additions to garden compost.
Hair – Hair will catch and stick to other items and is very difficult to get out of piping once it gets in. Prevent hair from going into the pipes by using a fine drain screen to catch hair in your bathtub and shower and dispose of it in the trash.
Household hazardous materials – Such as motor oil, pesticides, paint and solvents should never be poured down the drain. These are highly toxic and will cause long-term environmental damage. Dispose of these items and many others at one of the City’s free Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Events by calling 652-4525 Monday through Thursday to make an appointment for the third Saturday of each month. For more details, visit cityofventura.net/HHW and help keep our community safe and clean.
From Pipeline, August 2012