41% of women flush tampons down the loo [Photo: Giphy]
Pop into any ladies’ loo and you can barely move for signs warning you to never, under any circumstance, dispose of your sanitary products in the toilet. And sure we’d never flush sanitary towels away, that would just be asking for a blockage, but tampons, they’re essentially just cotton wool, right?
Well, actually no. Because it turns out flushing tampons down the lav is really bad for the environment and our water systems. Whoops! According to research for Anglian Water 41% of us admitted to flushing sanitary items down the loo and didn’t know they shouldn’t. While the same number of women confessed to not knowing this was damaging the environment.
But every week, in the East of England alone, 40 tonnes of sanitary products are wrongly flushed down the pan and have to be removed from clogged up sewers, normally only capable of dealing with, ahem, number 1s, number 2s and of course toilet paper.
Who knew tampons could do so much harm to the environment? [Photo: Rex Features]
“The UK’s sewers and pumping stations weren’t built to cope with wet wipes, tampons or other sanitary items. When flushed they don’t disintegrate like toilet paper and they cause blockages. That can mean nasty smells, or worse still a higher risk of flooding and pollution of your home and the environment,” explains Emma Staples, a spokesperson from Anglian Water.
And people like Sharon Jones, one of Anglian Water’s army of sewage operatives have to deal with the blocked nastiness. “I know how messy and tricky tampons can be to dispose of hygienically, however I also see first-hand the damage caused by these items being flushed and the distress it causes people when sewage has backed up into their garden or home,” she says. “It can all be avoided if everyone binned their tampons, sanitary waste, wipes and other bathroom waste”
Which seems like the perfect solution, in theory, but we don’t always have a bin to hand, nor do we necessarily want to put a used tampon in our shiny silver bathroom bin.
Well step forward FabLittleBag, a hygienic, easy-to-use disposal bag that biodegrades. Made from 35 per cent organic material, FLB is a tiny little bag that you can put your tampon in to bin it, whenever you get to one. Genius!
This clever little invention is hoping to help save the sewers [Photo: FabLittleBag]
The clever little bags are the brainchild of Martha Silcott. “Some people have great ideas in the bath or in the shower, but I had mine sitting on the toilet!” she says.
“It’s not surprising that around eight out of 10 women said they found disposing of used tampons embarrassing. I believe women deserve a hygienic, easy and discreet way to deal with disposal and I created Fab Little Bag to achieve this - and to help prevent environmental pollution from sewer flooding at the same time.”
And the idea looks set to catch on as 71% of the 340 Mumsnetters who trialled the bags said that the trial had made them realise flushing tampons and other sanitary items leads to sewer blockages and pollution, and 77% said they would bin tampons rather than flush in future.
So next time you’re in the ladies, don’t ignore those ‘don’t flush’ warning signs. The environment will thank you for it.
Do you flush tampons down the loo? Let us know @YahooStyleUK