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Proper Disposal Practices for Feminine Care Products

Updated on January 9, 2016

Properly disposing of sanitary pads, panty liners and tampons is just as important as choosing the right sanitary protection product. Whether it’s a disposable sanitary pad or tampon, or a reusable product like washable cloth sanitary pads or menstrual cups, proper disposal instructions need special attention. Period.

Some of the anxiety and embarrassment about having a period can be eased by teaching the proper disposal method to young ladies when they use restrooms at school, at a friend’s home, at the mall, and in their own bathroom. It is sensible to teach responsible practices at a young age so this simple act becomes a life-long healthy habit. Personal size disposal bags designed specifically to discard pads, tampons and pantyliners are available on-line and in stores. The bags make disposal easy, clean and discreet.

There is nothing to be ashamed of when making “noise” opening up, using and wrapping sanitary protection products —having a period is natural and every woman gets a period at sometime during their lifetime!

Sanitary Pads and Panty Liners:

  • After removing a used sanitary pad or panty liner from underwear, fold up or roll it.
  • Place the sanitary pad/panty liner inside a plastic disposal bag or if none are available, use the plastic wrapper of the new pad. Since the wrappers usually rip when removing a new pad, use toilet, tissue or toweling paper to completely cover the soiled pad.
  • Discard in a trash receptacle

Tampons:

Though some tampon packages say “flushable” the reality is that tampons do not dissolve like toilet paper. Tampons clog toilets and contribute to blockages in plumbing pipes, which can lead to messy clean ups and expensive plumbing repairs. ONLY human waste and toilet paper should be disposed of down the toilet.

  • After removing a tampon dispose of it in a plastic disposal bag to totally conceal the tampon, applicator and wrapper. If a bag is not available, then use toilet, tissue or toweling paper to completely cover the tampon, applicator and wrapper.
  • Discard in a trash receptacle

Away From Home Washrooms:

  • Most restrooms have a metal or plastic hinged receptacle bin in the stall to dispose of sanitary pads, panty liner and tampons. These units are VERY unsanitary and are the most contaminated spot in a women’s restroom. Use toilet tissue to act as a barrier to open the lid of the receptacle to discard products.
  • NEVER throw away any unwrapped items in this waste receptacle, even when the bin is lined with a paper or plastic bag. No one should have to view, smell or handle discarded products, including janitorial workers. Place the sanitary product inside a plastic disposal bag or if one is not provided, wrap in toilet paper to totally conceal the soiled item.
  • If there is not a special disposal bin or a garbage can in the stall; used sanitary products should never be left lying on the floor. Wrap up the soiled product in a disposal bag or toilet paper and carry it out of the stall to throw away in the washroom trashcan.
  • Immediately wash your hands after discarding sanitary products and using the bathroom.

At Home Bathrooms

Special steps should be considered for home bathrooms, especially with pets in the house! Since many dogs will eat anything, if the bathroom trash can does not have a tight sealing lid, remove the discarded product directly to the outside garbage can. It's important the bathroom trashcans are lined to keep them from getting soiled, plus it makes it easier to empty!

  • Bacteria grows on moist items such as pads and tampons which causes an unpleasant odor after only a few hours, so empty the trashcan regularly.
  • Though flushing tampons down the toilet are a quick way to get rid of them-NEVER discard them in the toilet. What can be more embarrassing to explain to a friend that her toilet has clogged and overflowed because you tried to flush a tampon?
  • Even at home, no one should have to view, smell or handle discarded products-that includes other family members!
  • Immediately wash your hands after discarding sanitary products and using the bathroom.

Though it's not often discussed, proper disposal of sanitary pads, tampons and panty liners is the last step in the "life" of feminine care products. Concealing feminine care products in leak proof, sealable bags will help all women feel confident during that special time of the month.

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      scensibles 22 months ago

      That's a good suggestion! The odor from the bin is actually from bacteria growth. Let the facility know they need to clean and disinfect the bins. They are the most contaminated spot in a restroom and are a health and safety risk. But they are also GROSS!!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 22 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      i usually carry an extra sanitary pad plus a piece of newspaper to throw the foul odor one away into the bin. I hated when women just leave their pads open up laying on top of the bin