To Flush or Not to Flush
Ahh the age old debate, can you flush a tampon down the toilet?
Many of us lady friends don’t really think twice about flushing a used tampon right down the toilet. But in our ongoing quest to lead a Tampon Revolution that takes into consideration not just what goes into our bodies, but how it effects our planet, it’s time to have some real talk about the right way to dispose of a tampon. And spoiler alert, it’s not flushing it down the toilet.
The fine print that you might read, but will more than likely skim over is that the proper way to dispose of a tampon is to remove it from your body, wrap it in toilet paper, and throw it in the garbage.
Well for starters, tampons can clog your toilet. But you already knew that. Tampons are designed to expand, and when you do the quick math, our household pipes just aren’t that wide.
The more important issue is that tampons don’t immediately break down the way that toilet paper does when it hits water. Therefore they travel through our plumbing systems, into sewage pipes, get filtered out (assuming they never get stuck) and end up in a landfill. The same place they would’ve ended up if you just threw it away in the first place. Creating all these extra steps creates a middleman for our own trash.
As a quick note, once your tampons do make it to a landfill, they take about 6 months to biodegrade, and much longer than that if your tampons are made with synthetic fibers, which many traditional options are. If those tampons or pads are wrapped in plastic, they could take hundreds of years to break down. With each menstruating woman discarding about 16,800 feminine hygiene products in her lifetime, you can only imagine the amount of waste this creates.
The same way that we are now making a conscious decision about the products that we use, we need to pay attention to how we are disposing of these products, if not, we’re only fighting half the battle.