Are Tampons Flushable?

- January 13, 2019

To flush or not to flush, that is the question. But an even better question is, are tampons flushable?

It’s time we have the conversation.

It might seem harmless to many people; just a thread of cotton and rayon whirlpooling down the toilet drain. However, just because it is the easiest option doesn’t mean it is the right one. After all, there is a reason why there are signs in public bathrooms asking women NOT to flush their feminine hygiene products down the drain.

Yet, a large number of women still believe the only way to get rid of a tampon is to flush it down the toilet.

What Do The Experts Say?

How many of us have taken a look at the fine print on the back of a tampon box and discovered the little icon of a toilet with a cross across it? Not many of us consider it important enough to pay attention to it, but it is there for a reason.

Many major tampon brands explicitly tell their customers not to throw tampons into the toilet, because — surprise, surprise — they clog the plumbing system. Additionally, they are also bad for the environment, something most of us do not realize.

Why Flushing Tampons Down the Toilet Is NOT A Good Idea

You might clog the plumbing. Tampons do not disintegrate like toilet paper; they are highly absorbent and swell when they are wet. This may not be of much concern to us when we are using a public restroom (it is not like we’ll have to foot the bill if the toilet gets blocked). But, if you are doing this at home, just remember, nobody wants to deal with a backed-up toilet — especially you.

According to the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, flushing tampons, or other personal care products like sanitary napkins, paper towels, and wipes, etc., costs municipalities millions of dollars every year to remove and repair the plumbing systems.

Flushing Tampons Is Also Not Great For the Environment

Another fact of much greater concern is, flushing tampons down the toilet harms the environment as well. Although biodegradable in landfills, tampons cannot be processed by water-treatment facilities and they can harm the septic system as well. This means harm to clean rivers and streams.

The Right Way To Get Rid Of A Tampon

Simple: just drop them in a trash can.

But what about those nice people who clean up the public restrooms and have to deal with used stinking tampons?

Well, be polite when discarding. Wrap up your tampon securely in toilet paper, or place it inside a small paper bag before throwing them in the trash can. It’s the least we can do for the people who are responsible for cleaning the public bathrooms.

The Bottom Line

Tampon brands may have their differences on flushing tampons down the toilet. However, throwing them down the drain generates a ton of waste and damage to the environment. For the sake of billions of dollars worth of taxpayers’ hard-earned money, and for the sake of preserving our natural water resources, let’s stop flushing our tampons.