Novato Sanitary District | Creating Worth From All of Novato's Waste

Eco-Smart Ideas: Clean Drains for a Clean Bay

Safer Alternatives to Household Chemicals

Many hazardous products can be replaced with natural and safe products that you may already have around the house. The chart below shows common hazardous household products on the left side of the chart and safer alternatives for them on the right side. You may be surprised by how easy it is to make substitutions and still get the job done.

Toxic – Avoid This Safe – Try This
Ant Spray Lemon Juice or Vinegar
Silver Cleaner Toothpaste
Furniture Polish Mineral Oil
Spot Remover Club Soda
Air Fresheners Potpourri (Dried Flowers)
Decal Remover Vinegar
Cleanser Baking Soda
Brass Cleaner Worcestershire Sauce
No-Pest Strips Fly Swatter
Copper Cleaner Salt With Vinegar or Lemon

Keep Fats, Oils and Grease Out of Sinks

Prevent Sewer Clogs and Overflows

Even if you use soap and hot water, grease will stick to your pipes and can cause clogs.

Follow these tips to prevent costly grease blockages in your own plumbing system and help Novato Sanitary District to reduce sewer system overflows, backups, and maintenance costs. Fats, oils, and greases aren't just bad for your arteries; they are bad for our collection system too.


  • Do Collect Fats, Oils and Grease Into a Can or Suitable Container and Dispose in the Garbage
  • Do Dry-Wipe Pots and Pans Containing Grease With Paper Towels
  • Do Scrape Food Scraps Into the Garbage


  • Don’t Pour Fats, Oils and Grease From Cooking Down the Drain
  • Don’t Put Fatty Food Scraps Down the Garbage Disposal

For a free brochure on Fat-Free Sewers - How to Prevent Fats, Oils, and Greases from Damaging Your Home and the Environment, contact the District at (415) 892-1694.

Your Toilet Is NOT a Trashcan!

Many items routinely flushed down toilets or ground up in garbage disposals should never go down the drain. These items cause blocked sewer pipes, create problems at the wastewater treatment plant, and end up as trash in San Francisco Bay. Your toilet should only be used for the disposal of human waste and toilet paper.

Never dump these and other items in the toilet – they clog pipelines and the treatment plant causing sewer spills and overflows.

  • disposable diapers
  • baby, personal and cleaning wipes (even the “flushable” ones)
  • dental floss
  • q-tips
  • syringes, condoms, tampons, and wrappers
  • paper towels
  • kleenex
  • leftover pharmaceuticals, pills, individual wrappers
  • grocery store produce stickers (used by individual grocery stores to code produce for the cashier)
  • fats, oils, and grease from pots, pans, and dishes
  • food wrappers
  • condiment packets
  • soiled clothing
  • Cat litter
  • Animal waste

NOTE: Flushable Products are Not Flushable

Despite the name, "flushable" products really aren't flushable and can cause backups in the sewer system.

Also called "disposable," the products that include rags and paper towels get caught on roots in sewer pipes and are among the leading causes of blockages, resulting in possible spills and backups. So, instead of flushing them down the toilet, dispose of them in the trash.

Composting for our Entire Community

Novato Sanitary District sponsors food composting through our franchise garbage hauler, Recology of Sonoma and Marin. To learn more about how the program works and other details, please contact Recology directly by clicking to their website or by calling (800) 243-0291.

Why Compositing is So Beneficial

  • Preserve landfill space. About 30% of residential garbage is food waste. By sending your food scraps to be composted instead of landfilled you are preserving landfill space.
  • Create soil enriching compost.
  • Reduce greenhouse gases. Composting food scraps significantly reduces methane gas, a major greenhouse gas. Garbage disposals should only be used to dispose of small amounts of food waste.
  • Everyone can participate. We compost from residential, multi-family, commercial, schools, restaurants and businesses.

Some Tips to Make Composting Food Scraps More Convenient.

Instead of scraping plates into the garbage or into the disposal, scrape them into a paper bag or wrap in newspaper, and simply put the whole thing in the green cart. Some people find that freezing items such as fish scraps and putting them in the green cart the night before their service day helps keep the odors at bay. Or, place a bucket or bowl on the counter for daily food scraps and dump the contents in the green cart when full.