For Earth Day, we knew you’d be swarmed with posts and pictures.We decided to arrive fashionably late because let’s be honest, everyday should be Earth Day.
Let’s talk specifically about plastic in pads and tampons.
So, the plastic in a pad is mostly the back strip where the glue is placed as well as the plastic tampon applicators. These are made from low-density polyethylene and are particularly damaging to the planet. Besides taking centuries (between 500-800 years to breakdown), they require high amounts of fossil fuels to make.
The total carbon footprint of the disposable menstrual hygiene products market is equivalent to burning 35 million barrels of oil annually- in official terms this is 15 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Besides sitting in landfills, some of these products are being flushed which is blocking and polluting waterways and ends up in the ocean where it harms marine life.
Mallos, a nonprofit, collected 27938 used tampons and applicators on beaches around the world in a single day in 2015. A report by the European Commission concluded that disposable menstrual products are the fifth most common type of waste washing up on beaches. I myself was a tampon flusher, bad right, but this was because I didn’t realise that these solids were not processed in the sewage system.
So now we know. Flushing these items is a big no-no. Clogged sewerage pipes lead to overflow which finds its way into natural water streams that human depend on for drinking water. Other than the obvious (and huge) problem of plastic pollution in the ocean, menstrual products that find their way to natural water sources and beaches threaten the wildlife and human who come in contact with it by the possibility of it spreading disease and pathogens because of the bodily waste they contain.
Not flushing tampons and pads down the toilet anymore is something that everyone can do immediately to help action change.Bianca Hansen
Advocate for environmental change & Wastetrepreneur
A study done in the UK showed that almost half of all menstruators flushed their tampons. Figures published by the Journal of the Institution of Environmental Sciences tell us that about 2.5 million tampons, 1.4 million pads and 700000 pantyliners are being flushed down the toilet in the UK every single day. So please don’t do it.
The environmentally friendly, and the very least you can do, is to wrap your used tampon or pad in toilet paper and throw it into the bin. The next best is to make sure the product is organic and biodegradable so that you can dispose of it in your compost or put it in a ‘natural environment’ to allow it to break down and add nutrients to the soil. Even if this organic product finds it’s way into the sewage system or nature, it will at least be able to breakdown and not cause lasting damage to the environment.
One side of Sheba Feminine’s mission is to help all women to turn a natural but sometimes uncomfortable time, into an opportunity to shift business as usual, to benefit the environment and your vaginal health (read the corresponding article to learn about how organic is healthier).
Shop the Sheba organic and biodegradable menstrual products below!