Are you a flusher or a binner?
“To flush or not to flush, that is the question?”. Well, here in the UK about 60% of us flush and 40% of us bin. What I have noticed is that whilst Binners are genuinely shocked that some people flush their tampons, the flushers are a little more complex.
I divide them into three categories: Firstly your ‘Determined Flusher’, not concerned about potential blockages or environmental impact, they have never had a plumbing issue and love the ‘convenience’ of flushing. Then there are the ‘Guilty Flushers’ – they know it is not a good thing to do, but a quick flush and it’s gone and the guilt is fleeting. Then there are the Gobsmacked Flushers! They genuinely think that flushing is absolutely fine, in fact that’s why they use tampons because “you can flush them, it says so on the packaging right?” Well…no, not right, it does actually say NOT to flush and to bin your tampon on the packaging BUT this is via a very small diagram, often on the underside of the box!
On the positive I have met very few Determined Flushers, most are Guilty or Gobsmacked AND once provided with a discreet, hygienic and confident solution, a chunk of them are happy to change and give up their flushing ways!
Back to the Binners, they are already ‘doing the right thing’ – hurrah! Most wrap in loo roll, some use nappy sacks. Both of these methods have negative issues. Lets take each in turn: Loo Roll- there is always that slight fear that maybe there is not enough loo roll to wrap up your bloody tampon properly, less of an issue in your own home of course but when round at other people’s houses this can be an issue. Assuming there is plenty, the wad that you then deposit in the bin – OMG is there a bin?! – assuming yes, then the wad you deposit here is unsightly and can leave one feeling a little self conscious as you know that your friend/mother-in–law/ boyfriend/work colleague will be emptying the bin and ‘know’. Everyone seems to think that loo roll is ‘free’ but actually it does cost money.
The same rings true for nappy sacks, except they are usually the super cheap 100 for £1 ones which are ‘bad’ plastic, and simply add to the landfill and will take 100+ years to start to degrade. Oh, and there is the requirement to pre-prepare with two hands, ties up and then squeeze the air out and then be able to see exactly what is in there as it’s warm and moist so clings to the semi see-through plastic – yuk!
So to FabLittleBags…well, as I sat on my own toilet hating the loo-roll-wrap, I felt that there must be an easier, more environmentally friendly, hygienic and discreet solution. There wasn’t, but there is now.
FabLittleBags are made from 35% organic material – currently this is from sugar cane waste, it could be from corn starch in the future. They are biodegradable in approx. 12-18 months when in landfill. They finally provide women and girls with a handy, hygienic and discreet solution that allows confident disposal every time, wherever you may be.
• Severn Trent Water, just one of the UK’s water companies, has 55,000 blockages every year.
• Collectively the water companies spend £88m on blockages
• Flushing non-flushables such as tampons, nappies (I know!), condoms, cotton buds, razors, etc is the cause of most of these blockages. (Pouring fat down the sink is a major problem too!)
• There are 10m tampon users in the UK. Approximately 60% flush, that is 1.6bn tampons hitting our sewers – a chunk of which get stuck or, when the sewers flood, get into the rivers and end up on our beaches and in the ocean.
• In 2009, The Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup project collected 20,000 tampon applicators
There are a growing number of alternative to tampons and pads; the Menstrual Cup, sea-sponges etc. Both of these methods are the crème-de la crème environmentally and I applaud all those who use them. Personally, they are not for me and I love the convenience and ease and hygiene of tampons, clearly organic cotton is best, but at the end of the day it is what works for you, what is comfortable and what is affordable. We are lucky as we do have many choices unlike most of the world’s female population.
I want to break the taboo around periods and tampons etc, take away the angst around disposal and make it easy, hygienic and normal! Come join the party; it’s going to be fab!
Martha is the founder and director of Fab Little Bag. FabLittleBag® offers a secure and clean option and can be used anywhere. The bags are uniquely opened with one hand and have a seal that ensures that a bag can be confidently contained and carried if not possible to bin right away.