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Don't throw garbage down the drain

Help keep our rivers clean. Don't use the sewer as a garbage can.

Photo of prohibited materials in a toiletThings that go into the sewer through toilets, sinks or storm drains can end up in our rivers. You can help make a difference in the health of our waterways by following these proper disposal suggestions:

In your home or where you work

Put the following items in the garbage where they belong, instead of down the drain:

  • cigarette butts
  • dental floss
  • condoms
  • rags
  • tampons and tampon applicators
  • sanitary napkins
  • disposable diapers
  • human and pet hair
  • cotton swabs
  • cosmetics/makeup
  • wipes (pre-moistened personal hygiene towelettes, often advertised and labelled as flushable or biodegradable)
  • food scraps (an even better solution is to compost them or dig them into your garden)
  • vegetable and animal grease, fats, oils (these substances can clog the sewer in your home and the City system and cause sewer backup)
In your yard and on the street

Anything on the ground can wash into the storm drains on streets and lanes and end up in the rivers, so:

  • clean up your pet waste.
  • check your vehicle regularly to make sure hazardous waste fluids, such as oil, antifreeze and gasoline, aren't leaking.
  • don't litter.
  • don't put grass clippings, leaves and other yard waste on the streets or into rivers – not only do they add harmful chemicals and nutrients to the rivers and clog storm drains, it's against Sewer By-law 92/2010.
Hazardous waste products, chemicals and prescription drugs

These potentially dangerous substances don't belong in the garbage or dumped down the drain – they need special handling.

  • Dispose of hazardous waste products safely by taking them to a free household hazardous waste collection depot.
    • Information on collection centres is also available by calling the recycling and garbage information line at 204-986-8888, code 9811 or contacting us
    • These danger symbols can help you identify many hazardous waste products – e.g., corrosive, explosive, poison and flammable
      Corrosive, explosive, poison and flammable hazardous waste symbols
  • Many chemicals can damage the sewer in your home and the City system. Plus, our wastewater treatment plants may not be able to remove them and they can end up in the river, harming fish and other aquatic life.
  • Take leftover or expired prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines to a pharmacy where they will be disposed of safely.
Last updated: November 27, 2015