Disposable pads and tampons used by menstruating women (and disposable nappies) can take years to biodegrade. Many women are unaware that, in many situations, flushing their menstrual waste products into the sewerage system means sending it untreated directly to the sea, endangering marine life, polluting the beaches and spoiling coastal recreational activities, like surfing. They also clog up sewers and cause extra costs for sewage treatment plants which intercept them.
66% of the 13.4 million menstruating women in the UK in 1993 flush their sanitary pads or tampons down the toilet. 88% of UK coastal outfalls discharge untreated or only coarsely screened sewage.