Flushing standard tampons down the toilet can clog pipes can lead to backflow of wastewater and other hazards.
But what about biodegradable plant-based tampons that often break down into natural ingredients?
We can assume this will be good for our waterways since the material decomposes anyway. So can we discharge these?
Dr Olivia Ahn, founder of sanitary napkin brand Planera, explains: “No, we shouldn’t. ‘Biodegradable tampons are not designed to be washable and it will still clog pipes.’
She adds: ‘A removable product – according to the UK’s ‘Fluid Guide’ – would need to be broken down and passed a 5.6mm sieve in 6 hours. A product of biodegradation is not necessarily dispersed in water. ‘
In fact, Olivia says there are currently no tampons in the world that are certified ‘removable’.
What is the UK ‘Fine to Flush’ Standard?
‘Fine to Flush’ refers to the new official standard that defines which wet wipes can be safely flushed down the toilet.
According to Water.org: ‘Despite an increasing number of products labeled “Do not rinse”, there are still many wipes on the market labeled “washable” that do not deteriorate as quickly as they enter the system. drainage system and will not pass rigorous qualifying tests to receive the “Fine to Flush” symbol.
‘The labeling of these products can confuse consumers, increasing the problem of sewer blockages.’
Even tampons labeled as fully biodegradable should not be flushed down the toilet.
Leah and Nikki, founders of organic cycle care brand Ohne, agree that although their tampons are 100% biodegradable, they should never be flushed – or any other type of tampon. Any hygiene – down to the private area.
They say: ‘Biodegradable or not, most wastewater systems are simply not designed to handle tampons, which can build up over time and lead to clogged drains.
‘The best way is to wrap the tampon with a bit of toilet paper and put it in the bin.
‘And if you have a compressor at home, you can put your biodegradable tampons and pads in it.’
While there are currently no washable tampons available, there are versions of tampons that have passed the ‘good to flush’ standard – like the one made by Planera.
Founder Olivia and her team have done extensive research to make this possible, and she emphasizes that, while some products claim to be biodegradable, only a few are actually biodegradable. That’s a small part of it.
This is something she learned from the very beginning.
She adds: “We started with a biodegradable product that couldn’t be washed away but found it would never have the right environment for biodegradation.
‘Even if we made the whole product biodegradable, it would still burn with toxic fumes, get stuck in water pipes, or in a landfill for centuries because it will not be in an environment suitable for biodegradation.
‘This is when we pivoted and became the world’s first biodegradable pad, as we were able to guarantee that the product would break down in the sewers – eventually back into the environment. fertilizer form.’
How do both biodegradable and washable hygiene products work?
“biodegradable” means that the product will decompose in the presence of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria [both in presence and absence of oxygen], Olivia said.
‘Therefore, the proportion of biodegradable material is important – some products label themselves as biodegradable because part of the material is biodegradable.
‘The term can still be misleading, as the conditions required for biodegradation are crucial – so even if the materials are biodegradable, they can last forever due to where they end.’
Olivia says this is the difference between burnable, home compostable and certified industrial compostable.
She adds: ‘Certified flushable ensures biodegradable when flushed down the toilet.
‘Home compost means compostable products in household and industrial compost that require specific controlled conditions at the industrial composting facility to decompose.’
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https://metro.co.uk/2021/12/08/can-you-flush-biodegradable-tampons-15665912/ Can you flush biodegradable tampons?