Sometimes it’s better to not know the language than to know just a little bit. I saw this sign again today in the ladies’ room and remembered how I interpreted the text last year.
Papel is paper. So when I saw this sign in a bathroom, I thought I was ordered to throw the toilet paper in the bin and not in the toilet. I was so glad at that time that I didn’t ‘make a big message’ – as we say in the Netherlands – because I was imagining the enormous mess that would make.
By now I am aware that los papeles are the sanitary towels. Making much more sense that one shouldn’t throw that in the toilet.
PS it turns out the signs mean paper after all. The sewer pipes over here are sometimes very narrow, hence the request to not throw anything in the toilet that can cause obstructions.