Over third of period products still get flushed down the toilet
Many people still find the disposal of period products challenging, new research has shown.
Survey results have revealed that over half (58%) of women and people that menstruate have struggled to find an appropriate place to dispose of their period products, with 70% revealing experiences where no bin has been available.
As a result, nearly two-thirds of women (65%) have had to hide used period pads or tampons in their bags until they found a suitable place, with one in four also having admitted to stashing a used period product in a doggy poo bag when there has been no other disposal option.
The survey, commissioned by the world's only flushable period product Fluus, has shown that even when there is a bin available, over two-thirds of women (67%) get the 'ick' when it comes to disposing of their used period products.
Some women have also encountered tricky situations even when they have disposed of their products appropriately, with over a quarter (26%) experiencing "trash traumas" in the form of small children and dogs taking used period pads and tampons out of the bin.
Dating scenarios while menstruating have also left women feeling uncomfortable, with one in 10 not wanting to leave a trace of used period products at their date's house (10%), and even more feeling uncomfortable leaving them at a partner's home (12%).
The discomfort surrounding periods and the lack of facilities is resulting in women getting rid of their used products down the toilet, despite almost all being unflushable. One in three women (37%) admitted to flushing a pad or tampon, and of those who flush, over half (52%) stated they do it monthly, with nearly a quarter (23%) finding it more convenient.
Gen X (42-57) are the biggest flushers, with 47% of British women in this age bracket admitting to having flushed a period product compared to only 20% of women aged 16-17. This is having a huge impact on Britain's ecosystems, with a third of women (33%) surveyed stating that they'd seen a period product in British waterways.
It's younger consumers that are seeking more eco-friendly products, with nearly three-quarters of Gen Zs (74%) thinking about a brand's sustainability credentials before buying. Sustainability isn't as much of a priority for Gen X, with only 58% admitting that sustainability influences their purchasing decisions.
In terms of period care specifically, over three-quarters of women in the UK (78%) are concerned about the environmental impact of their period products, which is critical as the period industry is a huge contributor to waste. Three billion menstrual products are used each year in the U.K., generating 200,000 tonnes of waste. Conventional disposable menstrual products are made from 90% plastic, and plastic products take hundreds of years to decompose, meaning the waste will stay in landfill for over 500 years.
Fluus has created a pad that disappears entirely. It's the only period product that breaks down in the toilet, similar to loo roll. With the power of the toilet flush, Fluus pads break down into plant fibres and biodegradable materials, which means no permanent waste is left behind, as opposed to the microplastics and chemicals left by other period products.
Dr Olivia Ahn, co-founder of Fluus, explained, "What do you do with a £23 billion industry - used by over half the population - that generates enough permanent waste to wrap around the planet over 1,600 times every single year? You change it. By flushing a Fluus pad, we can guarantee zero microplastics, zero period pollution, and zero permanent waste."