Is Flushing Food Down The Toilet A Good Idea?

There seems to be a few reasons why people want to flush food down the toilet. Usually they don’t have a garbage disposal, or composting available, and don’t want the kitchen smelling as waste food sits in the garbage can until garbage day. But is flushing food down the toilet a good idea?

Is Flushing Food Down The Toilet A Good Idea?

Flushing food down the toilet is not the best idea. I get it, and I do it myself sometimes – but there are some good guidelines and alternatives that won’t put your plumbing at risk.

Flushing Food Guidelines:

  • Flush small amounts of food that will break down quickly and easily
  • Don’t flush bones or other hard food scraps such as corn cobs, apple cores, or chunks of meat
  • Never flush oily or greasy food
  • Don’t flush grains – they swell up with the water and become larger masses
  • Don’t flush starchy foods – a pile of mashed potatoes continues to stay together in the pipe and becomes a clog risk especially if it comes in contact with other items that shouldn’t be flushed

Flushing Food Alternatives:

  • Garbage disposal or garburator. These in-drain appliances macerate food scraps before sending them down the drain. Remember to not put anything too large down the drain and be sure to rinse with plenty of water to ensure that everything drains successfully.
  • Composting. The absolute best way to manage kitchen scraps and leftovers is to compost them. We keep a small bin under the sink for this and empty it regularly into our building compost bins. I have been surprised to learn that it never smells! You can start a compost pile, or bin, in your own backyard, contribute to the composting bins in your apartment or condominium building, or take it to a municipal composting facility.
  • Garbage. Composting is not available everywhere (yet!), so the last option is to dispose of the waste in the garbage. The potential smell involved with this, however, is the number one reason why people flush food in the first place. One way to combat this is to freeze the waste until garbage day. I currently live in a cooler climate so don’t need to do this (plus I have a garburator AND composting available) but, when I have previously lived in a hot climate I did exactly this. I kept a small plastic bag in the freezer and added kitchen scraps to it throughout the week. Then, on garbage day, I simply grabbed the bag out of the freezer and put it in with the rest of my garbage at the curb. No smelly garbage!!