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Megan Johnstone
Megan Johnstone

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02 March 2020 Megan Johnstone

Sanitary products should be disposed of correctly, says Megan Johnstone.

Many of us are growing aware of how human activity impacts the environment. And this awareness is spreading to all aspects of our lives, with an amplified call for changes in behaviour. 

Even small aspects of our daily routines can be harmful to the environment. 

Take the sanitary sector. The creation and disposal of these products are often taken for granted, but these products contribute to environmental damage. 

The Women’s Environmental Network has found that, on average, a woman will use more than 11,000 disposable menstrual products over her lifetime, which produces a staggering amount of waste. While periods are a reality, could we be managing the associated waste in an eco-friendlier way?

One of the most important things FMs can do to minimise the environmental impact of sanitary products is to provide appropriate waste management systems in all bathrooms. It sounds obvious, but many women still flush sanitary products rather than binning them. 

FMs should encourage ‘binner’ behaviour to move towards more environmentally aware waste disposal. Becoming a ‘binner’ is a small but significant step women can take to reduce the environmental impact of sanitary products such as non-applicator tampons. 

The Institution of Environmental Sciences found that around 2.5 million tampons, 1.4 million sanitary liners, and 700,000 panty liners are flushed down UK toilets every day. 

FMs will need to ensure appropriate bins are available and regularly maintained. But they should also put up notices informing people of the detrimental impact of flushing sanitary products.

Workplaces that provide sanitary products to their employees should supply eco-friendly, biodegradable products, opting for brands with a low plastic content. 

Encouraging employees to make these ‘greener’ choices will reduce waste, and cause them to rethink their menstrual product choices.

Megan Johnstone is writing for Lil–Lets