In 2016, it was revealed that nearly 50% of UK women flush tampons. What is considered by many to be ‘normal practice’ is highly damaging to the environment and causes severe sewage issues. Each year there are an average of 366,000 sewer blockages in the UK. Whilst there are other contributing factors, sanitary waste is one of the reasons why sewers get blocked. This goes on to create flooding and pollution – yikes!
The cost of removing such debris from drains is paid for in our water bills. So, think of it like this…fewer tampons being flushed = lower sewerage costs and subsequently a reduction in water bill costs!
This blog is not an attempt you make you feel ashamed, it’s all about raising awareness. When it comes to safely disposing of tampons, it’s not often an issue that gets highlighted enough. When you get your first period, the advice that you receive from your mother, sister, teacher or whoever often dictates your approach to menstruation going forward. There is, however, a knowledge gap that perhaps comes from the lack of discussion (but the period taboo is a whole other topic!).
I discussed this topic with one of my friends and her reaction is what inspired me to write this post. She had never heard that it’s not advisable to flush tampons and pads down the toilet. As the statistics above show, it’s a common issue in the UK and one that needs to be addressed.
Digging deeper, flushed tampons can have a significant impact on the environment. It’s estimated that 1.6 billion tampons get flushed every year. Crazy, huh? I touched upon the sewer issue above but this means that untreated sewerage spills into rivers and litters beaches.
Waste that does get filtered out before it hits sewer level also ends up in the landfill. This is yet another environmental issue that is having a massive impact on our planet and wildlife.
First things first, and I may sound a little bias here but I would recommend certified organic and biodegradable tampons and pads. This ensures that the cotton is farmed responsibly and decomposes naturally. I know a few readers might be fans of reusable products such as cups or reusable pads. These are also highly environmentally responsible, but not to everyone’s preference. It’s exciting that we do have more choice these days but finding what works best for you is important!
Now, just because you have chosen 100% organic, biodegradable tampons or pads it doesn’t mean you can flush them down the toilet. At TOTM we care about your health but also for the planet, so back away from the flush! When you change your tampon/pad for safe disposal use an environmentally-friendly disposal bag. FabLittleBag are ideal so you can pop your used tampon into the bag and bin it. Products such as FabLittleBag are also biodegradable so they will not clog up landfills. They keep your tampons and pad out of rivers and seas plus you can hygienically dispose of your used items anywhere. How useful is that?
I hope by reading this it has helped you understand that flushing tampons is a big no, no and there are in fact easier disposal methods. Everyday behaviours can have an enormous impact on our planet. So, remember to think before you flush!
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