For the first time, new research has explored how women dispose of tampons. This previously taboo topic has revealed a shocking lack of awareness about the environmental consequences of flushing tampons. It also reveals a surprising level of angst about periods and tampon disposal.
This exclusive new research was conducted by Mumsnet, on behalf of Anglian Water and FabLittleBag, in the UK in April 2016 with 342 women.
Ignorance is costing the environment
- 62% of women still choose to flush their tampons, rather than bin them
- 41% of women didn’t know that you are not supposed to flush tampons
- Sewer blockages caused by 1.4bn flushed tampons cost water companies £80m a year to clear
- Overflowing sewers mean tampons are washed up in gardens, beauty spots, rivers and beaches
Tampon disposal still causes blushes
- 84% of women find tampon disposal away from home tricky or embarrassing
- 52% of women have carried a used tampon in a pocket or handbag to dispose of later, at least once
- 29% of women have personally, or know someone who has, had a nightmare disposal scenario
The last taboo
Even though periods are now openly discussed in the mainstream media, the essential, regular task of tampon disposal remains firmly behind the closed bathroom door. Whilst sanitary products have become more advanced and deluxe, disposal has been pretty much ignored, leaving women to wrap their used sanpro in tissue or rustle-ly, see-through nappy sacks. No wonder the testers in this research welcomed FabLittleBag:
- 90% felt more confident and in control of disposal with FabLittleBag
- 87% felt less embarrassed about tampon disposal with FabLittleBag
- 87% would recommend FabLittleBag to a friend
- 91% would buy FabLittleBag
The feedback from the testers was very rewarding!
“They make the whole week of hideousness feel more sanitary, less stressful and actually made such a difference to me”
“Wow wow wow, I never thought I’d be raving but these are amazing!”
“Easy to use and a brilliant idea to an age-old problem!”
As well as improving women’s lives in this last, angst-filled area, having a better option for tampon disposal is changing behaviour too:
97% of women who tested FabLittleBag resolved to stop flushing tampons
That’s a source of relief to Anglian Water, the sponsors of the research, and will be to ALL water companies, as well as to those who care about the environment.
Not just women
Tampons are not the only things blocking our sewers: condoms, wipes and ear-buds are culprits too. Luckily FabLittleBag provides a handy, hygienic way of disposing of all the bathroom unflushables, even if there isn’t a bin immediately to hand.
What they say
The inventor of FabLittleBag Martha Silcott says, “Some people have great ideas in the bath or in the shower, but I had mine sitting on the toilet! I believe women deserve a hygienic, easy and discreet way to deal with disposal during their period. I created Fab Little Bag to help make women’s lives more comfortable around the time of the month. I was adamant there must be a better way.”
Carrie Longton, Mumsnet co-founder, says, “Sharing knowledge is one of the things that Mumsnet users do brilliantly, so it’s great to be working with FabLittleBag and Anglian Water to spread the word about the negative impact of flushing tampons and help women do something good for the environment.”
Priscilla Taylor, one of Anglian Water’s army of sewage operatives says, “I 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. It can all be avoided if everyone binned their tampons, sanitary waste, wipes and other bathroom waste”.
Or, as one of the testers says, “Absolutely brilliant!”
Where to buy
RRP £2.99 Bathroom Pack (contains 20 bags) and RRP £1.99 Handbag Pack (contains 5 in a sturdy re-fillable pack, perfect when out and about)
For full details on this ground-breaking tampon research, email Martha at [email protected]