James C. Juodawlkis
Grade 4, Bishop Elementary School, Arlington
Annette Brubaker, Teacher
It's a Toilet, Not a Wastebasket!
I believe that dumping trash down toilets is a bad idea. It saves
time but consider what happens to your plumbing, the environment and even other people's water. All of them are negatively affected.
The first reason that I think that using a toilet as a trash can is a bad idea is that the plumbing could be severely damaged. For example, forms of acid would corrode the pipes, causing water to be diverted. Also, larger solids would end up clogging the pipe. Things that would definitely cause problems are the following: egg shells, cantaloupe seeds, gum, coffee grounds, tea bags, chewing tobacco, cigarette butts, dental floss, sanitary napkins, diapers, paper towels, newspapers, candy wrappers, rags, large amounts of hair and any sort of wipes. So remember using toilets as trash cans has effects below ground, as well as above ...
The second reason that I think that using a toilet as a trash can is a bad idea is that it could wreak havoc in the environment. I know this could sound insane, but don't use bleach! It's horrible for the environment! And its journey ends in the natural world. I would use a natural alternative such as Borax. Many people use bleach, unaware of its effects. My mom did, too. Do not dump Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) down the toilet. This category includes products that are: ignitable, reactive, corrosive or toxic. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) say that "Improper disposal of HHW can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or in some cases, putting them out with the trash. The dangers of such disposal methods might not be immediately obvious, but improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health."
Some people dump out of date medications down the toilet. It was once an encouraged practice, but flushing medicine affects animals, often killing them. Unless you want flushing to endanger species, remember to dispose of trash properly.
The third and final reason that I think that using a toilet as a trash can is a bad idea is that it makes the standard wastewater procedure harder. To clean water containing HHW requires more energy, which causes excess pollution. Bacteria are used to eat certain elements of wastewater, but if the water contains antibacterial substances, the bacteria will die. And water doesn't magically flow through the pipes, it relies on a series of pumps to get where it needs to go. If a flushed item gets into the pumps, it causes them to break, creating an annoying (and expensive) problem. Using a toilet as a trash can clearly complicates the standard wastewater treatment procedure.
These are the examples of what happens when you use a toilet as a trash can. It causes immense problems with the plumbing, the environment and the wastewater treatment system. So the next time you flush, think.
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