Hedge: This all gets pretty grody pretty fast. If you don’t like reading about menstrual blood and the disposal of it you’d better skip this week’s entry…
So this could maybe be classified more as a Public Service Announcement than a blog entry. Today we’ll be talking about tampons etc. and the disposal of them in the USA. You’ll see we’ve gravitated straight back to the heavy stuff here.
I only have any in-depth experience of sanitary product disposal in the two countries: America and Great Britain but I see on my little ‘interesting stats info’ page that there are people who read this blog in Canada, Colombia, Guatemala, Sweden, the Russian Federation, Australia and the Philippines so please do feel free to chime in on your own countries’ systems!
In the UK (for the most part) you flush tampons etc. down the loo/toilet. That’s the general rule. You may see those sanitary disposal things in public stalls but unless there’s a sign up explaining that the plumbing’s packed in so you can you not flush anything – they generally stay unused. (Apart from the convent school I went to where they collected up all the lady products and burned them in an incinerator once a week. The ashes floated unfettered across the playground as if to announce our womanly sins to the whole world.)
However – in contrast to the ‘flush and pray’ method in the UK – in the US you put all used sanitary products in the trash can. Yes I’m talking about your bathroom trash can/bin. You don’t flush any part of your sanitary product down the loo. It all goes in the trash.
BB refers to this as a ‘cultural difference.’
And what a difference it is. Before I lived in the states I had an American lady housesit for me once and she left my trash can brimming with used sanitary products. I could. not. believe. it. I was about ready to call the cops.
However living in another country will change you in ways you never thought possible. Last time I visited the UK I came face-to-face with a ‘bobber.’ A tampon that had presumably made its way down into the system only to resurface after an insufficiently strong flush. The bobber had blooded all the water in the bowl. There was also a leftover turd in there too and the whole offering looked a bit like a small squirrel had been attacked by a shark.
This all could have been avoided by placing the rogue tampon immediately in the trash. Though presumably the turd would have remained…
I’m not sure what the most environmentally friendly option is but I will tell you here that I have fully transitioned to the American ‘place it in the bin’ option. But only because if BB caught me flushing tampons down the toilet and risking gumming up our ancient plumbing system he would most probably finish with me on the spot.
And I ain’t going back to single parenthood again because of a soggy tampon.