Awesome ad campaign aims to keep non-flushables out of toilets

With the help of a Macklemore parody titled “Flushing Awesome,” the King County Wastewater Treatment Division hopes to save $120,000 in annual wastewater treatment costs.

The TV, radio and bus ad campaign, includes two colorful cartoon “music videos” — one a parody on Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” the other “One to Flush” inspired by “A Chorus Line.”

“Not gonna flush my trash/ only put TP in my toilet/ I-I’m not gonna cause a sewer backup/ This is flushing awesome,” the cartooned ad sings.

The goal of the comedic campaign is to get King County residents to stop flushing non flushable waste. Commonly flushed non-flushable waste includes wipes, diapers, feminine hygiene products, hair, condoms, dental floss and grease. The campaign urges residents to only flush toilet paper and human waste.

Last year WTD spent more than $120,000 on removing non-flushable items from wastewater and transporting them to a landfill. The cost doesn’t include increased maintenance, equipment downtime or energy demand. The ads, produced by local advertising and branding firm, Golden Lasso, cost less than what it annually costs to remove the trash.

However, residents aren’t completely to blame for the flushed trash, because there are no “flushable” standards for manufacturers of flushable products.

“WTD is working with customer agencies and industry groups such as the Water Environment Federation, or WEF, to develop stricter requirements for flushable products,” the WTD wrote in a newsletter.

These efforts are starting to pay dividends with some companies, such as Costco, already changing labeling on their products.

In the meantime, WTD is focusing on public education, with the “Flushing Awesome” campaign running on local stations this summer. They’re also working on advertisements to run in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and Vietnamese.
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