real life

A surprising number of Aussie women are flushing their tampons down the toilet.

When it comes to flushing vs binning in the sanitary disposal department, it seems women are still just a little bit confused.

Can’t reach the bin with your sanitary items because you’re stuck in the toilet? Oh, darling, it’s fine – just flush it!

…Except, actually, we can’t. And a surprising number of women don’t know that.

Tampons aren’t biodegradable and are basically indestructible, as are sanitary pads, obviously. Putting them down the toilet is an environmental hazard of the highest degree. So, what’s to do when there isn’t a bin in sight?

In Mamamia’s Flusher or Binner survey, 14 per cent of women said they flush their sanitary waste down the toilet.

We hope Carrie Bradshaw isn't a flusher. (HBO)

One in five of those who flush says they do so because "everyone does".

Interestingly, that number is far higher in the UK. When sanitary disposal company Fab Little Bag surveyed the women of the UK in conjunction with Mumsnet, they found a whopping 62 per cent of women still chose to flush their tampons, rather than bin them.

And although those statistics in and of themselves are cause for alarm, the more interesting ones relate to the internal struggle over disposing of sanitary items. Women are often left stuck with no single way to dispose of items we're consistently told we should be embarrassed by.

Mamamia found 87 per cent of women have been caught in a toilet cubicle with no bin, and 18 per cent have found themselves in this scenario regularly.


Of all the women surveyed? Two in three have experienced anxiety about disposing of sanitary products in a public space.

And in theory, it makes perfect sense. Bec Park, the Australian Director for Fab Little Bag - a sanitary disposal company - says she wasn't surprised the statistics.

After all, the fact that women across the world found themselves often "rolling up their sanitary items in toilet paper" was the reason Fab Little Bag was born in the first place.

Women had no safe place to dispose of sanitary items if left without a bin, and no one had yet created anything to ease the awkwardness of it all.

A post shared by FabLittleBag (@fablittlebag) on


Enter Fab Little Bag. A tiny opaque, sealable, biodegradable bag for the disposal of tampons and pads. No more toilet paper wrapping, no more flushing.

"We should be celebrating the fact that in Australia, a high percentage of women are still binning their sanitary items. That number is far higher in the UK. It's just a bummer they're binning with anxiety," Park tells Mamamia.

The product was invented by Martha Silcott who, about 10 years ago, faced this very anxiety. There had to be a better alternative, she thought. So, she made one.

"There was nothing that was convenient, discreet or environmentally friendly. Women were flushing because there wasn't an alternative," Park tells Mamamia.

Park says although the product is in its infancy in Australia, woman are embracing it for it's unique nature, and their desire to use it is, two-fold.

"The decision to use it is probably based around the anxiety first and foremost, and it's probably reinforced because it's good for the environment.

"It's alleviating a whole lot of emotional distress."