Those with periods will know that flushing pads, panty liners and tampons isn’t ideal. They can cause blockages and can also end up in oceans and landfill.
This is why a new brand has launched what they’re calling the world’s first flushable period pad. Fluus uses a microplastic-free technology called Flushtec, which is made from cellulose plant fibers.
1. Look for a reputable company
The first step is to look for a reputable company that sells flushable sanitary pads. This will ensure that your sanitary pad is made from safe materials that are good for the environment. The company should also offer a money-back guarantee to help you get your money back if the product is not what you expected.
Most women will agree that using reusable menstrual products is great for the planet. However, they can be a little tricky to use. Depending on the brand, you will need to wash them separately from other clothing or add them to your normal wash cycle.
For Planera co-founder Olivia Ahn, it was her lightbulb moment when she realized that there were no fully flushable menstrual pads on the market. So she set out to design a pad that was safely flushed and would break down in water treatment plants, just like toilet paper. She and her team spent three years designing and testing their new product before it was ready to hit the shelves.
2. Check the packaging
The term ‘biodegradable’ on a napkin might sound appealing, but it can be misleading. Consumers should look for the phrase ‘compostable’ instead. A compostable sanitary pad should decompose in 90 to 180 days, producing no harmful materials and leaving no residues.
The London-based brand Planera was one of the first companies to bring flushable pads to market. They have been tested in accordance with WIS 4-02-06, the water industry specification for flush ability testing.
The company says their sanitary pads eliminate the super-absorbent polymer and wood pulp, but retain the 3mm cellulose fibers that give them elasticity. They also eliminate the chemical-based hot-melt glue and bleached white cotton liners found in conventional plastic pads. This reduces their environmental footprint significantly. The pads are small enough to be flushed without clogging toilets or the sewage pipes they lead to. However, many women still struggle with the inconvenience of disposing of these products each month. This is why flushable sanitary pads are an important step forward.
3. Check the material
Many sanitary pads and wipes contain plastic, and even those that are biodegradable or organic will still end up in landfill sites or in the sea. To make a real difference, London-based company Planera has created flushable sanitary pads that are fully biodegradable and compostable.
The product works in three layers, with the top sheet made from natural plant fibres that are cushioned and gentle on the skin. Blood wicks through the top sheet, and then the wood pulp core quickly absorbs and distributes it across the pad before locking it as a gel within the middle locking barrier.
The sanitary pads have been independently tested and passed the Water Industry Flushability Test WIS 4-02-06, meaning they can be flushed down toilets without blocking or clogging, and then will break down in landfill environments in 180 days. This is much faster than the industry average of five years, and far shorter than the lifetime of a conventional sanitary pad.
4. Check the pricing
Many women use up to five and fifteen thousand conventional plastic pads in their lifetime, which either get incinerated or end up as waste. These products don’t degrade in landfills and can also clog the waterways. This is why it is important to select flushable sanitary napkins.
Ideally, you should select those that have been labeled biodegradable or compostable. The best ones will be marked with a government-authorized certification and can take 90 to 180 days to decompose. They should be free of non-compostable materials, bleached wood pulp, plastic liners, super-absorbent polymer and hot-melt glue.
This is the logic that inspired a quartet of youngsters in their 20s to set up Saathi, which has created sanitary pads made from banana fibres. The team consists of MIT and Harvard graduates, including Kristin Kagetsu (co-founder), who brings product development expertise, Tarun Bothra, who heads operations, and Grace Kane, who is in charge of marketing. They believe that menstruation shouldn’t be an embarrassment and aim to help women manage it better. The founders realized that they could make a sustainable difference by using freely available, eco-friendly banana fibers.