If you've ever travelled to Asia, chances are you've experienced the "bum gun", the hose attached to toilets used for washing your... err, well, it's in the name.

In public toilets, paper often isn't available, or you have to remember to grab a few sheets from the dispenser by the basin before you enter a cubicle.

Even then, you're not supposed to flush it. The sewerage systems usually aren't designed to cope with paper, or other non-organic waste.

Instead, there are little wastepaper bins, like you see in an office, sitting next to the loos.

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Most people use the paper for drying after hosing rather than wiping, as throwing used paper into an open bin is rather gross.

The consequences of flushing toilet paper or sanitary products in these countries are dire - it can end up straight in the waterways or can block up the pipes causing overflow.

To an inexperienced user, the bum gun is one of the most significant elements of culture shock.

But once you've used it a few times and got the hang of it, it's not too bad. Some people prefer them to paper.

After all, you're washing, not just dry wiping with paper.

As the world becomes more environmentally conscious and with more people travelling overseas, I can see the uptake of bum guns taking off in Western countries, or more widespread use of the bidet.

It's something Tauranga City Council might look favourably upon.

The council is going to launch a campaign to discourage people from flushing wet wipes down the toilet.

The wipes are a major issue for the council. Council staff found the wipes were responsible for 30 per cent of all wastewater system blockages and removing wet wipe blockages cost ratepayers an estimated $168,000 last financial year.

It's quite gross.

Whether you're ready to embrace the bum gun or still stuck on loo paper, it's a good idea to think about what you're flushing away.

Out of sight isn't out of mind. The next overflow could be in your backyard.