Flush or not to Flush

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.

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9 thoughts on “Flush or not to Flush

  1. here is the simple solution – Why not install the Bidet system–? it is safe,Hygeinic and less irritant to your anal parts- It costs one time but then you save the paper cost and also will never clog the sytem-my 2cents–Yusuf

    • Yusaf, excellent suggestion! Our old apartment has a bidet in each of the main bathrooms. They are wonderful and you are right you use much less toilet paper if you can get into the habit of using the bidet instead. Thanks for your 2 cents and thanks for reading our blog.

  2. Pingback: Morning Update – Thursday, April 14, 2011 « South of Zero

  3. thanks Nancy-You are doing wonderful Job there in Salina-I will be in Manta in June and may travel down to Salinas and love to meet you all there–best wishes–Yusuf

    • Yusuf- thanks for your kind words, let me know if your plans include Salinas we would love to visit with you. Nancy & Joe Levin

  4. hey, the inability to flush pap

    the inability to flush paper is what keeps ecuador as a 3rd world country. i have been in hostels and hotels where this may or not be a problem. I manta, I had no problem. In canoa I had no problem. In Guayaquil and Playas there was a problem. If this is up to health standards in these areas, then why not ALL of ecuador i think people should complain and insist this be changed. I UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM BEING A GENERAL CONTRACTOR MOST OF MY LIFE—BUT IT DOESN’T MEAN IT SHOULD BE ACCEPTABLE.
    I will be in Salinas next month and hope to find a place that offers sanitary disposal of paper in the toliet. Putting paper in a trash can is simply NOT sanitary. It invites flies, ants etc, that can spread disease. I encourage ALL ecuadorians to push for this necessary upgrade.
    I want to live in Ecuador. It is a beautiful country, the people(s) are super. i am continuing my spanish courses as I believe it is essential for anyone living in another country–after all, don’t we expect all immigrants to USA to learn english—and rightfully so. This learning process is essential, worthy, and justified. Do not come to ecuador and refuse to learn at least some of the spanish language.

    BUT, again, the toilet paper issue is significant and needs to be addresses, changed, improved. I find it incredible that there is not more disease. Cleanliness is next to ___. Do any of you disagree? We should become residents of the country in which we live, vote, and petition for Healthy standards. Do you think Correa does not flush his toilet !!!

  5. There are several companies that make what are known as Bidet seats that fit on a regular toilet. They provide instant warm water to cleanse the genital are and some even have warm air that will dry you. In our condo in Florida, we installed one and love it. We only keep toilet paper in the guest bathroom, otherwise we don’t even use it. They cost from $400 up to $1,000, but are well worth the investment, Amazon. com is a good source for research. Here is a link to one of the most popular ones. http://www.biolifetechnologies.com/

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