We have noticed a debate on the groups on the question of flushing toilet paper or not. I have had several discussions with expats already living here as well as those making plans to move to Ecuador on the “can you flush toilet paper in Ecuador” question.
What I have been told by the folks in the hotels we stayed at, the restaurants we frequent as well as the staff of our building is not to flush the toilet paper. From what I can glean from these discussions, it has nothing to do with the size of the pipes, whether you live in an old building or a new one. It has everything to do with the force of the water pushing the refuse down the pipes and out the sewer lines. And this is nationwide it is just not a Salinas issue. Our stay in Guayaquil in a $200 a night hotel had the same small covered trash can located next to the commode, our time in Quito and Puerto Lopez was the same.
In looking in Footprint 6th Edition guidebook for Ecuador we find this line, “almost without exception used toilet paper should not be flushed, but placed in the receptacle provided. This is also the case in most Ecuadorean homes and may apply even in quite expensive hotels”.
When our daughter was a baby we had several au pairs over the course of a two-year period. Most of them were visiting the US from other countries. Two of the girls were from Brazil, Rid de Janeiro to be exact. They did not flush toilet paper. We also had two sisters from Sweden, they also would not flush toilet paper. It took a bit for me to retrain them to flush the TP as the sewer system in Miami was set up to take it. That is not the case here!
It was not a deal breaker for us to change our habits and place our used TP in a covered container in the bathroom. We remove and replace the plastic bag each morning. If in doing this is would spare us a sewer backup or loss of our ability to flush our toilet for an unknown period of time if there was a back up, it is a small price to pay in our opinion. Continuing to flush toilet paper into a system that does not have the ability to handle it will eventually cause a backup. The sad fact is it probably will not inconvenience those that fail to follow the custom it will affect those further down the sewer system. I could and would not be responsible for doing something like that.
If not being able to flush toilet paper is a deal breaker, maybe a developing country like Ecuador is not the place for you. Just saying there are many things that are done differently here, if changing is a challenge or you feel you cannot make the transition it is better to find out before you move than after.