Toilet Paper Trash Can

One of the things that I’ve discovered in my (two) trips to Central and South America is the toilet paper trash can.

This is a classic toilet paper trash can. Notice the lid, and the close proximity to the toilet paper.

What is this, you ask?  Well, if there is a trash can (usually covered) located strategically next to the toilet paper, it is a toilet paper trash can.

Due to a difference in the quality of water and sewage service, many places can’t accommodate toilet paper being flushed.  This means that it needs to be disposed of in a trash can.  Some places will tell you this; others are either too fancy or too polite to post a sign that says “Don’t flush your toilet paper” and so they will simply assume that you know. 

I learned this part of the way through my trip to Panama, because until then either no one wanted to tell me or everyone assumed I already knew.  In Ecuador, I saw the appropriate trash can and was immediately reminded of my Panamanian experience, although I was hesitant to make the assumption.  Fortunately they are not shy about the trash can in the Galapagos, so I saw signs that confirmed my original guess.

The lesson from my experience is this: if you are in Central or South America and see a trash can like this, with a lid and strategically placed, assume that it is for your toilet paper and act accordingly.  Remembering to toss your T.P. isn’t any harder than remembering not to take a drink from the sink when you are brushing your teeth.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. deshipley
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 17:54:25

    Good to know.


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