There's a small handful of things you absolutely don't want to flush down the drain, such as money or time – and also old cooking grease, unused medicines, and household chemicals.

That's right. Modern American homes are full of things that CAN go down the drain but SHOULDN'T. This article will provide a few tips on what those are – and how to deal with them. Responsibly.

Cooking Oil and Grease
Your doctor will tell you that grease clogs your arterties. Grease also clogs the arteries of your city or town – the sewage pipes that connect your home to the water treatement plant. When grease clogs these pipes, the results aren't pretty: sewage backups into the street, yards, and even inside somebody's home!

The best thing to do with cooking oil and grease is to reuse it. If the oil is used for frying mainly one thing, french fries for example, it can be used several times. Just strain the oil through cheesecloth or coffee filters into a covered can or plastic container. Bacon grease should be a crime to throw away, the way it can flavor potatoes and suchlike, but nearly everyone knows that!

If you must throw old grease away, here are the steps to do it responsibly. When the oil gets old, cool and pour it into a plastic container with a strong lid. You can throw that in the trash if it's a small amount. If you compost or have a large happy family of worms in your backyard, you can safely pour the vegetable oil out there. Another possibility is finding a friendly restaurant that will add it to their oil to be recycled.

Old Medicines
Sometimes, we end up with medicines we don't need any more. And we used to think that the safe thing to do was flush them down the toilet. We thought that would keep it away from kids and pets. But now those unused mediciens are coming back to haunt us! They are appearing in our drinking water!

As it turns out, when you flush old medicines down the toilet, they go to the local water treatment plant – which weren't designed to remove them. The dissovled medicines end up in the nearest river, and can be found in the tapwater of downstream communities. Find out if your doctor, clinic, or area hospital will take your old meds for disposal. If they can't, throw the bottle in the trash and send it to the landfill.

Household Hazardous Waste
Modern American homes are full of toxic chemicals – paint, varnish, turpentine, antifreeze, solvents, and more. The common troublespots are the garage and kitchen. That's where you'll find those half or mostly empty cans, bottles, tubes, and other containers of toxic stuff.

It's tempting to pour them down the drain. Out of sight, out of mind! But the water pollution control plant you house connects to wasn't designed to remove that stuff, so it will find its way into local waterways.

Don't do it! Your local government is working hard to help you dispose of the stuff responsibly. The magic word here is «household hazardous waste.» Google it up with your local government name and you'll quickly discover the where-tos and how-tos for getting rid of unwanted chemicals without becoming a midnight dumping polluter.

Remember, we all live downstream. If you don't take the time to carefully dispose of the materials that can pollute water supplies for the families that live down stream, can you ask the families that live upstream from you to do the same?

Author's Bio: 

Are you raising a family in the Washington DC metro area? Are you interested in tips about government services and other useful information for moms like you? If yes, then check out the Metro DC Mom Blog. This article was placed in this directory by the environmental writing company Water Words That Work, LLC.