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Can you flush tampons down the toilet? How to safely dispose of your period care

Hand holding TOTM organic cotton cardboard applicator tampon out of wrapper over purple and pink gradient background

It’s important to always safely dispose of your tampons, pads and liners. Not to sound ‘preachy’, but flushing your products is a big no, no. Here’s why:

A study in 2016 found that nearly 50% of UK women flush tampons down the toilet. But those products that travel through the sewerage systems create serious issues.

Issue 1: The fatberg

A fatberg is a ‘very large mass of solid waste in a sewerage system, consisting especially of congealed fat and personal hygiene products that have been flushed down toilets.’ Period care products are mixed up in these fatbergs, which lead to severe blockages. Each year there is an average of 366,000 sewer blockages in the UK. The cost of removing such debris is paid for in our water bills. Not to mention it’s a huge burden on UK cities which could lead to even bigger problems.

Issue 2: Damaging our environment

Flushed period care products have to end up somewhere, and if it’s not clogged in the sewer it’s in the ocean. Anglian Water have estimated that between 1.5 billion and 2 billion period products are flushed each year in the UK. This significantly contributes to pollution in the ocean. In 2015, The Ocean Conservancy collected 27,938 used tampons and applicators on beaches around the world in a single day.

Plastic and ‘eco plastic’ applicators are a big part of this issue. Not only do they pollute oceans on a mass scale, they also threaten marine life.

How to safely dispose of tampons, pads and liners

So, what’s the best way to dispose of your period care? Here are our top tips:

  • Make a sustainable choice

First things first, opt for eco-friendlier period care products. Organic cotton tampons, pads and liners are produced with not only your health in mind but also the future of our planet. Main brand pads can contain up to 90% plastic and plastic tampon applicators can take 500 years to breakdown. Organic cotton period care has less impact on the planet and the majority can also be composted. You can discover our full range of organic cotton and reusable period care here.

  • Bag it and bin it

When removing your used tampon or pad, either wrap in tissue or in the product wrapper. Pop this in the nearest bin or allocated sanitary bin. FabLittleBags are ideal if you’re using a toilet without proper disposal facilities or if no toilet paper is available. Even your tampon applicators can go into bathroom bins. Just remember to look for cardboard applicators, because plastic applicators can take centuries to break down in the landfill.

  • Recycle the carton

Always look for tampons/pads packaged in cardboard boxes. When you have an empty box, you can then pop this in cardboard recycling.

Take power over your period and take these positive steps to a greener period. Together, let’s put an end to flushing period care to protect the planet. Join our movement on socials – search @totmorganic.

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