This will be an experience familiar to many of you; you are at a friend’s house, and you need to change your tampon.
Like some low rate spy, you smuggle the tampon up your sleeve, excuse yourself to use the bathroom and then go through a period (pardon the pun) of mild panic with the dread of how to dispose of the used tampon.
For some reason putting it in the bin fills you with hot shame. Why? No real reason but it just does. The embarrassment of it all is too much to bear but let us tell you a secret. Your friend very likely knows you menstruate and doesn’t judge you; your friend very likely knows you use sanitary products and again doesn’t judge you and your friend is unlikely to root through their bin! Well, we hope so.
However, all this rational thought escapes you and instead of the bin, the toilet seems like an attractive option. It looks like a bin with no consequence
due to its magic flush handle, there to flush all your cares away. Or so you think…..
While the toilet seems like an easy option at the time and lets you escape from own self-made shame spiral the story doesn’t end there for the tampon. It is about to start on its own adventure, with disastrous consequence. With a flush your problems might seem over, but really, they are just beginning.
The tampon may have a tail but that doesn’t make it a fish (please don’t flush fish either, but that’s for another day). The tampon will make its way from the toilet to the intricate wastewater treatment network, possibly swimming into a lake, river or the ocean where it can be a hazard for water quality and marine life. It can ultimately wash up on to a beach where it is not only unsightly but can also be a danger to birds or animals who mistake it for food or can have a damaging effect
on the marine ecosystem such as seaweed. Wow, all that because you were too embarrassed to use the bin.
The purpose of this story isn’t to make you feel bad. As we said we have all been there. The purpose of this story is to highlight how our actions can have consequences, even the actions we take in the bathroom. Knowing the negative effects of your actions gives us great power, the power to change
our behaviour which does make a difference.
The solution to disposing of sanitary waste is to simply use a bin, it couldn’t get easier than that. Going a step further, you can compost your Riley tampons and pads even after use.
Now the solution to your embarrassment is to realise people menstruate, take a deep breath and throw the sanitary product in the bin. Always Think Before You Flush.
This story was brought to you by the Think Before You Flush campaign. It is a public awareness campaign to educate people that only the 3P’s (pee, poo and paper) belong in the toilet, everything else belongs in the bin. The Think Before You Flush campaign is run by Clean Coasts in partnership with Irish Water. For more information go to www.thinkbeforeyouflush.org or look at #thinkb4uflush on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.