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Can you flush tampons down the toilet?

What happens to tapons and pads that get flushed down the toilet? 

The best case scenario is that the tampon travels safely through the plumbing pipes and gets filtered out at the wastewater treatment facility and put into landfill. This is the only “good” scenario and it all goes down hill from here.

Those pads and tampons that don’t get filtered out will likely end up in our rivers and coastal waters. According to an article in The Guardian, up to 2 billion tampons are flushed down toilets in England alone, every single year. It’s having a devastating effect on marine environments and wildlife due to the chemicals and plastics contained in these products.

Tampons and pads that are flushed down the toilet can also damage the infrastructure at wastewater facilities, further impeding their ability to remove these products before they end up in our waterways.

The worst case scenario (from a personal rather than an environmental point of view) is that the tampons and pads build up within your plumbing pipes until every drain in the house becomes blocked. Tampons are highly absorbent and expand when wet. Sanitary pads are also designed to absorb moisture. None of these product breakdown easily in water. In particular, most sanitary pads contain plastics that take hundreds of years to breakdown.

Pads and tampons can also combine with other debris in the plumbing pipes such as tree roots, wet-wipes and oil and grease. Oil can act like a binding agent, clumping together the debris in your pipes and causing even more serious blockages. If the clog is within the wastewater pipes near the drain opening of the toilet (also called a local clog), the blockage can be removed by a plumber fairly quickly.

When the blockage is further down the line in the main sewer pipes outside of your house, the situation can quickly turn into a full-scale Sydney plumbing emergency. When a sewer becomes completely blocked and the wastewater has no way of getting through the pipes, the only place for it to go is back-up the pipes in the home. This is know as sewerage back-flow or sewerage backup. Because all of the wastewater pipes in your home are connection, untreated sewage can pour out of multiple drain openings at your property including floor wastes, the kitchen sink, shower and bathtub.

If you've been flushing tampons or sanitary pads down the toilet, here's what you should do

Research shows that many women are unaware that tampons should not be flushed down the toilet. Up to fifty percent of women do it and have no idea that it’s bad for the environment and leads to blocked drains. If you’ve been flushing tampons and sanitary pads down the toilet, the best thing to do is to get your drains cleaned by a Sydney drainage plumber. Prevention is the best remedy so it’s a good investment to get the drains cleaned even if you haven’t noticed the signs of a blockage yet. Drain cleaning using a powerful hydro jetter (aka jet blasting machine) will flush virtually all traces of sediment out of the sewer line.

JAB Plumbing Solutions are Sydney’s leading blocked drain specialists. We carry a range of jet blasting and drain cleaning equipment suitable for unblocking any pipe on your Sydney property. If you would like a free quote or to find out more about our Sydney drain cleaning services, simply click on the button below.

  • Mar 03, 2020
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