Stop flushing your tampons away - the fish are eating them

By Nikki Michelsen

Nov 9, 2022

Stop flushing your tampons away - the fish are eating them
Cutting the plastic. Period. 
We’re free sailing in the right direction when it comes to talking about menstrual cycles, shouting about periods from high profile buildings and laying down clitoris art on public paths (truly fantastic Laura Kingsley). Not quite so au naturale however is the conversation around disposable period products and the not so hot (aside from the literal climate change) effect that these are having on our beloved Earth.
Here’s a 2017 stat for you: there are approximately 18 million menstruating humans in the UK who, over the course of their menstrual years, will use up to 13,000 synthetic (and non-biodegradable) disposable period products. So here’s our 2019 mission: we’ll all keep menstruating (at least we bloody hope we will be) and significantly less of us will be using non-biodegradable, synthetic disposable period products. Whether we’re opting for organic, biodegradable tampons and pads, being mooncups babes or trying out period underwear – it’s all moving in the right direction and it’s bloody fantastic.
We’re firm believers in conversations creating change and in an effort to make our 2019 goals come true, it’s time to start talking about the enemy… non-biodegradable, eco damaging, disposable period products. The archaic taboo surrounding menstruation has not only meant that innovation of new products has been stunted pretty badly, it’s also created an environment where periods have been experienced but rarely spoken of whilst products are in and out (quite literally) faster than we can say ‘don’t flush that tampon’. Every year, the waste of non-biodegradable disposable products fills up our landfills and ends up floating in our beloved oceans; 200,000 tonnes of it to be exact. That’s the equivalent of 600,000 sea turtles. Hideous femfacts pre-warning: 1 in every 100 pieces of rubbish in the ocean is a menstrual product, 70% of deep sea animals and 90% of seabirds have gobbled down plastic and there are over 50 non-biodegradable plastic period products on every mile of British beach.  Time to clean up our seas.
Let’s dissect an enemy for a minute, shall we? Mainstream Plastic Applicator Tampon, you’re up.
1 x tampon (that’s an estimated 20 years of decomposing)

  • Unfortunately made of a mixture of synthetics, plastic, toxic chemicals (i.e. fragrances…because vaginas obviously need to smell like artificial pauperie) and the residue that comes from bleaching non-organic cotton; dioxin.
1 x tampon string (another 30 years until this plastic coating has died)

  • Made of non-organic cotton (the farming of which is a whole other (pretty damn negative) conversation) and polyester. Then they often coat the whole thing in polypropylene, AKA plastic.
1 x plastic applicator (another 500 years before this beauty leaves the earth, assuming it’s not ingested by an innocent marine animal first.)

  • Easy points, it’s made of plastic. The processing of raw materials, particularly LDPE (or low density common plastic for the rest of us), requires huge amount of energy from our precious fossil fuels whilst also creating enormous amounts of waste as it’s byproduct. Not so hot.
1 x plastic wrapper (add another 30 years.)

  • More plastic, more energy, more waste. (And was it really necessary to wrap these like brightly coloured sweets?)
Then they give you a plastic bag to put these in because, let’s face it, not all of us want to run out of the shop throwing our new tampons around and announcing our time of the month.
Total years biodegrading? 580.
We don’t know about you but that list contains a whole lot of sh*t and way to much time in our opinion (and yes, we’re taking sides with Earth). We decided that vaginas deserve the best, as do our oceans and planet so we made sure we’re GOTS certified. (Keep an eye out for GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) brands, it means they’re sustainable from start to finish). So at OHNE, that’s a definite no to pesticide ridden crops or hydrogen peroxide/ chlorine inhalation. Instead, we’re about 100% European organic cotton, farmed sustainably and bought at fair prices of course. European manufacturers who pay at least living wage and produce the tampons sustainably, whilst ensuring energy and water usage is kept to a minimum. Our certification then goes right through to our fulfillment and office, ensuring that everything we do supports the environment and economy, rather than take from it. GOTS are pretty mega. We like them, a lot.
Here’s our promise: we’re going to keep talking about red whilst consistently striving to become more green and we’d love you by our side (because yes, you really can make a difference).
So, whenever you’re ready, we’ve got your back when you decide to scrap the synthetic tampon or plastic applicator. Ready and waiting for you are our (BEAUTIFUL – never thought a tampon could be called that) biodegradable cardboard applicator tampons, or totally naked one’s if that’s what you dig. All parceled up in a recycled and recyclable cardboard box and shipped in a mini protective biodegradable bag, your new goodies will fly through your letterbox in time for your period, every period.
Ohne Team
Image credit: ohne