Did you ever get into the habit of throwing things in the toilet that you know probably shouldn’t go in there?

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Like paper towels, napkins, or…dental floss? Well if you’re disposing of that last item in your toilet, STOP NOW. Even though you may think it’s harmless, flushing floss does quite a bit of damage.

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Floss screws up your pipes and pumps and also causes major trouble at wastewater facilities. Sometimes the seemingly harmless material merges with fats, oils, grease and other waste to form disgusting, noxious blobs called fatbergs. Ewwwww.

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Dental floss is made from nylon or Teflon and seems like it wouldn’t cause many issues, but the product is simply not biodegradable. Because it hangs around for ages, floss can get tangled up with all kinds of other gross things that get flushed to clog sewers and wreck pumps, costing a lot of money. A spokesperson for the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County said that the flushing floss results “in the need for local agencies that own and operate sewer systems to spend more money on maintenance to keep the sewers and pumps clear.”

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So let’s all work together on this one, it’s an easy fix: floss, and then toss it in the trash. Simple as that!

Photo Credit: Flickr, Denise Krebs

h/t: Mental Floss