Facts, figures and useful information about sanitary disposal, eco issues, our partnerships with water companies and FabLittleBag.
How does sanitary disposal work?
The packaging of your tampons and pads indicates that they should not be flushed, usually with the symbol of a toilet crossed out. Disposable tampons and pads either go to landfill, or are incinerated, or in some cases are used to generate new energy.
What happens to flushed items?
Flushed sanitary waste is removed at water processing plants and transported to landfill. However, frequently it causes major blockages in the sewer system before this stage. This is because tampons and pads are not designed to break up in water, unlike toilet paper. They stick to other unflushable items such as wipes and cooking oil to form vast “fatbergs” in the sewer.
What is the cost of sewer blockages?
UK water companies spend £88m a year clearing fatbergs and other blockages. There is also the inconvenience of the roadworks caused by repairs, sewage floods in the home and large scale eco pollution. Other costs include plumber’s call-outs and insurance claims from backed up sewage.
How does flushed sanitary waste contribute to eco pollution?
When sewers are blocked, they are designed to overflow into rivers. The untreated sewage pollutes the rivers, affecting both wildlife and humans. The evidence can be seen on our beaches, where tampons and wipes can litter the shores. Beach clean-ups are regularly organised by teams of volunteers. The Marine Conservation society picked up 2,290 tampons and pads over 364 beaches in the UK, although the problem is worldwide.
How many tampons are flushed each year?
An estimated 1.4 billion tampons are flushed in the UK every year.
What do the water companies say?
All water companies state that only the 3 P’s should be flushed: pee, poo and paper. FabLittleBag works in partnership with Anglia Water, Northern Ireland Water, Severn Trent Water, Southern Water, Yorkshire Water and Welsh Water to educate people about binning their sanitary waste instead.
What is FabLittleBag made of?
FabLittleBag is made partly from sustainable materials: originally this was sugar cane waste but now we’re moving to corn starch. The bag as a whole is fully biodegradable, even in landfill conditions.
What are FabLittleBag’s eco credentials?
FabLittleBag was created with the specific purpose of preventing tampons from being flushed, where they cause water pollution as described above. Research shows that 60% of women in the UK still flush their tampons, with 1.4 billion being flushed each year. FabLittleBag is also biodegradable within 18-36 months, or within 5 years in landfill. If incinerated, no harmful substances are released.
Where is FabLittleBag from?
FabLittleBag was invented by British entrepreneur Martha Silcott, who together with fellow Brit Penny Maystone has nurtured the product from first brainwave, through the patenting process, into production and on to the shelves of Waitrose. It is now sold all over the world, including the US, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Poland and the Netherlands. FabLittleBag donates a proportion of sales to support the fabulous Wellbeing of Women charity.