A lot of people don't really think about what they put down the drains, if it's liquid, you pour it down, if it's flushable, you flush it. Well I wrote a while ago about how wetwipes and other plastics aren't flushable, and about how they contribute to sewer blockages well now there's a whole month dedicated to improving the health of our sewers as well as making sure we're not polluting our waterways and seas.
This month is a month to try and change habits, to stop the blockages and the polluiton, you can get more involved on the Unblocktober website.

So I'm definitely someone who is guilty of not thinking too much of what I wash down the drain, but I haven't really had to with a father who works in the water industry I have always had my parents reminding me never to put oil down the drain, it's truly engrained in me! As well as reminding me not to flush wet-wipes, and to take home all waste from beaches! But I have been guilty of flushing tampons down the toilet, and letting food go down the drain, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal until it is!

Top Tips
So here are my tips to making sure that you're helping to take care of our sewers and the sea this unblocktober, start making changes this month that can stick with you.

Don't flush wetwipes - Even if they say flushable on them, they almost all contain plastic and so don't biodegrade, they just get stuck in the sewage stystem and end up polluting rivers, beaches, and the sea. I wrote a whole post about just this if you're interested in learning more.

Don't flush sanitary products . -  Only the Three Ps (Pee, Poo, Paper) should ever go down the drain! Most conventional sanitary products contain a lot of plastic and so should always go in the bin, and even the ones that don't contain plastic should be safely disposed of in the bin. After all they're designed to absorb moisture and so expand and help cause blockages in sewers. Also don't flush condoms, cotton buds, floss, contact lenses, nappies or anything else that isn't toilet paper.

Don't pour fat down the drain - These are the main big causes of fatbergs, fat in pans may be liquid but as it cools is congeals and solidifies and will stick to other fat and items in the sewage systems creating monster size fat bergs. Remember #DontFeedAFatberg

Always put cigarette butts in the bin - I think most people who smoke are guilty of this one, they putting cigarette butts down the drain, or snubbing them out in the sand on holiday, most people think they'll just degrade, but they don't. Cigarette butts are one of the biggest ocean polluters and are often the number one item picked up on beach cleans, their toxins inhibit plant growth and are ingested by fish which often end up back on people's plates. So just put them in the bin please! Only #RainDownTheDrain

Avoid letting food go down the drain - This is one I really need to work on! I'm really guilty of washing up with bits of food still in my bowls and plates and it ending up down the drain. But this also contributes to blockages.

What's the issue?
So you know not to flush these things, or put them down the drain, but what is the big issue?

Fatbergs form from fat, wetwipes, condoms, nappies, and much more and block drains causing flooding and damage to sewer systems. These can be several tonnes and cost tens of millions of pounds of year to clear, and cause thousands of homes to be flooded.

Though a lot of these big ticket items are stopped at waste water treatment plants before they end up in the sea and water, when there's a lot of rain then sewage water is let out without this treatment meaning anything that went in the toilet goes straight into the sea. It contributes to the huge amount of plastic already in our oceans. We all know that stat that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish, don't contribute to this!

Only 14% of English rivers are classed as in "good" health by the Environment agency and this is largely due to the huge amount of pollution in them due to our habits. The picture below is all rubbish I found on one walk along my local beach.

Some solutions

Thanks to the Unblocktober toolkit I've seen a recipe that you can use fat and oil collected from your cooking to make fat balls for the birds! These are the kind of zero waste solutions I like, or you can send fat off to be made into biodiesel, we love zero waste solutions on this site.

Using a sink strainer and a food scraper to put food in the bin before the sink can help to ensure that food isn't ending up in our sewage system. Investing in a compost bin if your local council doesn't take food waste is also a great way to save food from ending up in landfill where it produced methane.

Sanitary Products
Having a bathroom bin can really help to make sure that you don't flush sanitary or other bathroom products, opting for plastic free and reusable period products is also one solution to this, and luckily for you I have a whole post about this.

Other Products
Using eco friendly and zero waste bathroom products, avoiding using wetwipes, and getting a guppyfriend to filter out microplastics are also ways you can waste less and pollute less. But remembering that only the 3Ps and water should go down the drain is the golden rule here.

If you want even more information on how to get involved in Unblocktober then sign up here and you'll be send a toolkit full or resources to help you to stop the blockages. It's where I got some of the information for this post directly from!

You also don't need to just get involved this October, all year around you can get involved in #Binit4Beaches to make sure that we're taking care of our beaches, waters, and sewers by properly disposing of things.