The Environmental Impact of the Loo Taboo

How the last taboo is costing the environment.

It’s something that nobody talks about, which means the environmental consequences go unchecked as well. We’re talking tampon disposal and it’s a polluter of our rivers and beaches.

Ground-breaking new research has uncovered shocking ignorance and angst about the simple question of how to dispose of tampons. Just 41%* of women surveyed know that tampons should never be flushed.

Tampons are often considered ‘flushable’ as they can usually make it past the u-bend, but the problems occur further down the line. Unlike toilet paper, tampons don’t disperse, in fact they expand significantly when submerged in water; so they start to form blockages. Blockages cause overflows, with sewage seeping into homes and gardens and rivers; rivers lead to the sea…this is how used tampons (and other non-flushables such as wipes and condoms) end up being swept into the waterways, polluting our beautiful natural landscapes.

Ironically, many tampon users think they’re doing the ‘right thing’ by flushing, as they hate the idea of adding to landfill. Instead, their tampons are hacked out of the sewers by the water companies and then driven to landfill – the same destination, just the long and much more costly way to get there!

So how big is the problem? The majority of tampon users are flushers, a whopping 62%, which means an estimated 1.4 billion tampons end up in the waterworks each year. Even the enlightened binners are sometimes forced to become flushers, with 74% of women saying they would flush if no bathroom bin is available, a surprisingly frequent occurrence!

Sanitary products offer ever more sophisticated design and materials, and yet when it comes to disposal, women are left to wrap their used items in a bit of sodden loo roll, or even worse, use the cheap nappy sacks which are not biodegradable and add negatively to landfill. It’s not very 21st century.

It’s no wonder that an eye-popping 84% of women say they find tampon disposal at someone else’s house embarrassing. And that’s assuming there is a bathroom bin at all! 52% of women say they have done the ‘handbag smuggle’ (carried a used tampon in their handbag or pocket to find the nearest bin), at least once. While we salute their dedication to the no-flushing cause, there has to be a better way.

Enter FabLittleBag, the innovative sanitary disposal bag that is causing a mini revolution in the nation’s bathrooms!

Designed to win over even die-hard flushers, FabLittleBag can be opened with one hand (rather useful when your other hand is holding the soiled item). It’s opaque, with no rustle, for welcome discretion. There’s a sticky strip to ensure it seals hygienically closed. That means even if there is no bin available, it can be popped in a pocket or handbag until later.

Fab Little Bag demo
How to use your FabLIttleBag

Not only does it hygienically prevent the environmental pollution caused by flushed tampons, it is biodegradable and made from 35% recycled organic waste, giving it great green credentials. Whilst re-usable menstrual products are an ideal eco option, they are not everyone’s choice, and with tampon use so prevalent, the need for FabLittleBag is plain.  The fact that FabLittleBag can also be used for most sizes of sanitary towels and wipes means they are fast becoming one of life’s essential purchases; not just to spare the environment, but your blushes too, ensuring confident disposal every time.

FabLittleBag is sold as a Bathroom Pack of 20 bags (enough for an average period) for £2.99 and also as a refillable Handbag Case with x5 bags in it for £1.99. Buy here at Natural Collection and be sure to tell us what you think!

* All stats are from Mumsnet Survey July 2016. 342 Mumsnet testers.

Martha SilcottMartha 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.

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