Today 1 in 5 plastics found in our oceans are from period products. Pretty scary, right? Not just that, but plastic period products can take anywhere from 500-1000 years to decompose. For context, this is 5 times our lifetime if we live to be 100 years old. Or twice as long as the United States has even existed. Yep, that’s a pretty long time.
The good news is this wasn’t always the case. In the 1930's pads and tampons were mostly made of cotton and cardboard, meaning period products didn’t always contribute to plastic pollution. Plastic started becoming part of the design in the 1960s, when new synthetic materials were included in everything from clothes to kitchen utensils.
But now, when it comes to plastic period products, it’s time for a fundamental change in the products we use in order to reduce the pollution of our beautiful planet.
You probably know that Riley tampons are made from 100% certified organic cotton and that the applicators are recyclable, but what does that really mean? Let’s talk through it below.
Can I flush my used organic tampons?
Flushing tampons is a big no no. Unless you want clogged pipes and a whole lot of mess.
Although Riley tampons are biodegradable, they take time to decompose and they need the right conditions. Although half of women flush them down the toilet, we need to change this habit. Flushing tampons down the toilet can actually block drains and tampons can also end up in our rivers and oceans. If they’re not 100% organic cotton and contain plastic, this also contributes to ocean plastic pollution. Another great reason to purchase only 100% organic.
Ok, I won’t flush them. How do I dispose of my used organic tampons?
Riley organic tampons can be composted and, in the right conditions, will decompose within 12 months. Composting means to return biodegradable material back to the earth. We normally do this with food, garden waste or tea bags but this can also be done with used organic tampons.
Good to know. And what about pads?
Yes, those too! Riley pads are made from 100% organic cotton, they can be composted and take around 12 months to decompose in a compost pile.
Amazing, I’m going to compost tampons and pads. What are the steps?
It’s actually very simple.
Step 1) Make sure you are using a Riley organic tampon or natural pad for your monthly period.
Step 2) Create the right conditions for compost. We recommend a damp, warm and well-sealed bin. If you have a traditional home compost bin, it’s best to use your compost for growing plants and restoring depleted soils instead of using it to grow your own food. While menstrual blood is rich in nutrients, it can contain blood borne infections so stick to plants you won’t be eating to be safe.
Step 3) You want to make sure that you have a good mix of green and brown compost. Green compost includes veggie peelings and green cuttings from the garden. These should be softer, damp and break down easily. Brown compost includes cotton and cardboard, which take a little longer to break down and is slightly firmer. A mix of brown and green will create a good compost environment.
Step 4) Celebrate taking your first step in minimising your waste and saving our planet. Yay.
Is there any way to speed up the process? 12 months sounds like a long time.
While it may seem like a long time, normal plastic period products will take 500-1000 years to break down. So it’s actually pretty quick in comparison.
And finally, what about the applicator on my tampon?
Our Riley applicators are made from 100% sustainable materials, derived from sugar cane. This means that after use they can be washed, dried and added to the recycle bin. Simple.
But we didn’t stop there, the wrapping on our naked tampons is made from wood pulp, meaning they are also compostable. Double win.
As a business, we are motivated by the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's). Our commitment to providing eco-friendly period products addresses SDG #9, #12 and #13. At Riley, we feel incredibly strongly about this. We believe that periods shouldn’t cost the earth. Thanks for being part of the change.
If you have any questions or would like to know more please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a comment below.