Safe Ways to Dispose of Used Tampons

So, you want to know the best method of tampon disposal? Well, here’s a short answer – DO NOT FLUSH TAMPONS DOWN THE TOILET!!!

tampon disposal
Photo Credit: Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

So, what’s the safest method of tampon disposal?

The best method of tampon disposal is to wrap it in a facial tissue or a toilet paper and toss it into the waste bin. Some menstrual products are also sold with small disposal bags.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advises that tampons and other used menstrual products should be dumped into lined waste bins so that the contents of the bin do not make contact with the container.

It wouldn’t be right for other people to come in contact with the blood simply because tampons have been dumped in the public trash can.

Ideally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not consider waste menstrual products as regulated waste. It also does not consider discarded tampons as harbingers of the bloodborne pathogens standards.

Why can’t I flush tampons down the toilet?

Flushing is not a good method of tampon disposal. Most menstrual products are made of absorptive material. If you flush these kinds of stuff, they will be entangled in the pipes, or they may be saturated with liquid, then they swell and get lodged in the pipes.

This may result in blockages that could cause backflow of sewage into your home – this constitutes a grave health hazard, coupled with expensive repairs.

Even if you successfully flush them down your plumbing, they may clog the town’s sewer system, resulting in spillage into the local waterways, basements, and streets.

But I flush toilet paper. What’s the difference?

Toilet paper is designed to break down in the sewage disposal system almost after it is flushed. Conversely, tampons are not designed this way.

It is also worth noting that facial tissues don’t break down in the sewage system like toilet paper. Dispose of used facial tissues in the wastebasket, not the toilet.

Ensure that wipes are disposed of in the trash. They are not suited for the plumbing. And even if there the “flushable” label on it, you should know that these materials are tougher than toilet paper, and won’t break down.

What to flush and what not to flush

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) coughs out no less than $19 million to clean up clogged sewers on a yearly basis. The money also goes into repairing faulty machinery, and disposal of the waste.

A property owner may spend no less than $10,000 for repairs of damaged plumbing.

The Department of Environmental Protection has given guidelines on flushable and non-flushable materials. Since there are similarities in sewer and plumbing systems around the country, the following guidelines should also apply to your hometown:

  • Only toilet paper and human waste should be flushed.
  • Flushing is not the best method for tampon disposal. Also, wipes should not be flushed, even if it is labeled as “flushable.”
  • Do not pour grease into toilets or kitchen sinks. Rather, you may place it in nonrecyclable cans and dispose of it with regular waste.
  • All trash should be put in the garbage. Trash includes:
    • Paper towels
    • Tampons
    • Facial tissues
    • Wipes (cleaning wipes, baby wipes, makeup, etc.)
    • Floss
    • Menstrual pads
    • Condoms
    • Cotton swabs
    • Disposable diapers

Conclusion

Is it right to flush tampons? No. Flushing is not the right way for tampon disposal. Tampons can block the plumbing leading to the backflow of sewage. The end result of this will be expensive repairs and worse still, a health hazard. Only toilet paper and human waste may be flushed in the toilet.

To dispose of tampons, wrap them in toilet paper or facial tissue and dispose of in the garbage.

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