Many items we use on a daily basis cannot go down our toilets or drains. Several products, even those labelled “flushable” or “biodegradable” do not dissolve and putting them down the toilet or drain can cause:

  • Damage or blockages to your home plumbing, which could lead to basement flooding.
  • Damage to the City’s sewer pipes located under the streets, which could lead to basement flooding.
  • Damage to wastewater treatment plants.
  • Harm to the environment and aquatic habitat in the lake, local streams and rivers.

To help keep the entire sewage system working well and prevent sanitary sewer blockages and/or sewer service line blockages that can result in basement flooding, it’s important not to flush or put the following products down drains:

  • Hygiene products (e.g. sanitary napkins/liners, tampons, condoms, wipes, cotton swabs, dental floss, diapers and rags).
  • Fats, oils and cooking grease.
  • Medication (e.g. pills or liquid).
  • Household hazardous waste (e.g. paints, pesticides, cleaning products).
  • Car and garage products (e.g. motor oil, antifreeze).

View the accordions below for a detailed list of what not to flush and instructions on how to properly dispose of the material.

Should you see a spill to the environment or the sewer system, please call 311 immediately.

Below are the top hygiene items that should not be flushed and where to dispose of them safely:

Product Where it should go
Wipes of any kind (e.g. bathroom, baby and cleaning wipes)
Even those that say “flushable” and “biodegradable” can cause problems
Tampons and sanitary napkins/liners Green Bin
Condoms Garbage
Cotton swabs Garbage
Dental floss Garbage
Facial tissue Green Bin
Paper towel Green Bin

When fats, oils, and grease are washed down the sink or toilet into the plumbing system, they cool, harden and stick to the inside of sewer pipes. Over time, the grease will build up and can block the entire pipe – both on your property and on City property.

Where fat, oil & grease can be found

  • meats and bacon drippings
  • lards, shortening, cooking oil, butter and margarine
  • food scraps and baking goods
  • sauces, salad dressings and gravy
  • dairy products (milk and cream)
  • soups
  • sandwich spreads

What can you do to help prevent sewer system blockages

  • Never pour grease down sink drains or into toilets, as it can cause sewer backups in your home and neighbourhood.
  • Do leave it to harden or saturate with a paper towel and then place in the Green Bin.
  • Do put baskets/strainers into sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids. Empty the drain basket/strainer into the Green Bin for disposal.
  • Take large amounts of cooking oil/grease to one of the City’s Drop-Off Depots or Community Environment Days.

Grease traps for food service establishments, child care centres & mobile food vendors

Under the Sewers By-law, it is mandatory for all restaurants and other food service establishments, child care centres and mobile food vendors to install a grease trap (interceptor) on any fixture or drain that discharges wastewater. This includes sinks for washing dishes, and drains serving cooking equipment and self-cleaning exhaust hoods.

As a result of better measurement instruments and techniques, traces of pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment. One way this is happening is by consumers flushing medication, such as pills and liquids, down the toilet or sink. This can harm the environment and aquatic wildlife.

The following household hazardous waste should never be flushed down the drain. :

  • Car and garage products (i.e. antifreeze, motor oil, window washer fluid).
  • Household cleaning products (i.e. cleaners, bleach, disinfectants).
  • Paints (including any solvent, remover or glue).
  • Personal care products (i.e. nail polish remover, perfumes, aftershave).
  • Pesticides and garden products.

The below table indicates the locations it is safe to dispose of fat, oil and grease, medication and household hazardous waste.

Item Disposal Location
Fat, oil and grease
Household hazardous waste

Fats, oil and grease

Let the grease cool and harden, then scrape it, along with food scraps from trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils, grills and cooking surfaces into your Green Bin. Small volumes of liquid cooking oil can be placed in the Green Bin as long as oil can be absorbed by the other organic materials or paper towels. Larger amounts of liquid cooking oil should be collected into a sealed container labelled “cooking oil” and can be brought to a Drop-off Depot, Community Environment Days or you can request a Toxic Taxi pickup for waste between 10 litres/kilograms and 50 litres/kilograms.


Return medication to your local pharmacy. They will take it for free and dispose of it properly or take it to a City Drop-off Depot or Community Environment Day.

Household hazardous waste

Take household hazardous waste to a City Drop-off Depot or Community Environment Day, certain items can be dropped off through the Orange Drop Program, or contact Toxic Taxi to arrange a free pickup.