How to Dispose of Tampons (the right way)

You have probably heard the old cliche of people flushing tampons down the toilet.

We should go ahead and disprove that cliche right away and say that it is not sanitary. 

In fact, you can dispose of tampons in several easy ways without using a toilet.

Knowing how to dispose of tampons typically involves some sort of receptacle or napkin. It’s that easy.

Why Should You Not Flush Tampons?

Although it is easy to flush tampons down the toilet, doing so is not good for your sewage system. Nor is it good for others’.

Many people have probably flushed tampons because they do not like the smell. Or perhaps they would rather not touch the used tampon in case they touch any blood.

Here is the thing. Although tampons are fluffy, they do not come apart in water as easily as toilet paper. Toilet paper is designed to disintegrate in water and not clog up your toilet.

Tampons are solid. So if they were to get stuck, you would have to spend a lot of time (and money, maybe) fixing your toilet.

Not to mention how much time and money it would cost for your local water plant to deal with the damage.

How to Dispose of Tampons at Home

Usually, you can dispose of tampons the same way you would dispose of a pad. 

You simply wrap the used tampon in toilet paper and then throw it in the trash.

If you like, you can also wrap the tampon applicator, which covers up the tampon before use, in toilet paper. 

Some tampon brands come with wrappers in the box. These allow you to dispose of the tampons cleanly and safely without using toilet paper. 

Why Must We Wrap Tampons in Toilet Paper?

The reason why we wrap up tampons is either to be discreet or for sanitary reasons.

You might share the bathroom with other people. In that case, you might prefer that they not see your bloody products on top of the trash, especially if your trash can has no lid. 

On the other hand, you might prefer not to touch the bloody tampon as you throw it away. A toilet paper wrapper lessens those chances.

Plus, if the tampon is particularly bloody, toilet paper helps stop it from dripping blood on the floor.

Consider Getting a Trash Can Just for Tampons

Maybe you use up a lot of tampons during your menstrual cycle. Or perhaps you would like it if no one saw them in the open.

In that case, consider getting a trash can just for tampons. 

You might get a small one with a lid that you can stick somewhere in your bathroom. Or maybe you have enough cupboard space in your bathroom to place it in there. 

Sometimes, tampons can smell if left out for too long. If you notice a smell, make sure to throw out the tampons quickly.

Otherwise, do not leave the tampons lying in the trash for more than a day or two. 

How to Dispose of Tampons on the Go

Most often, you will see a receptacle on the wall of each women’s bathroom stall. They are lined with special paper to make cleanup and collecting easier.

If you need to dispose of a tampon, just wrap the used tampon in tissue paper, like at home. You might need to wrap around the tampon a few extra times to be extra discreet and courteous. 

Again, instead of flushing it down the toilet, dispose of the tampon in the receptacle. Lift the lid, drop the tampon in, and close the flap. Easy as that. 

Do not worry if the receptacle doesn’t have a lining. Chances are that the cleaning department has tools for safely disposing of human waste without harming themselves. 

If you are at a friend’s house, do not keep your tampons wrapped in toilet paper with your things. That is unsanitary, for one thing, and the smell can permeate into your other personal items.

Instead of waiting to throw out your tampons, make sure they are wrapped in toilet paper and throw them out as normal. 

What If There Is No Tampon Receptacle in the Bathroom?

Do not worry if you do not see a tampon receptacle in your bathroom stall.

Wrap the tampon in toilet paper as necessary. Tidy yourself up in your stall, taking care not to knock the wrapped tampon to the floor. 

Once you are outside the stall, throw the tampon in the trash can in the bathroom.

Try not to worry too much about other people seeing the tampon. You can bet that the other women in the bathroom have been in the same situation before. 

How to Dispose of Tampons While Away from a Bathroom?

Maybe you are out camping or some other place away from a proper bathroom. Again, that does not mean keeping your used tampons mixed in with your things.

Once you have removed the used tampon, wrap it in tissue or toilet paper. Then put the wrapped tampon in a paper or plastic bag.

Storing them this way will help keep the smell down. It can also get tossed out in a proper garbage bin when you have access to one. 

Keep a Paper or Plastic Bag on Hand for Emergencies

In the same way, some women keep an emergency tampon on hand, you might also keep an emergency paper or plastic bag.

These bags will come in handy for keeping tampons stored safe and away from your personal items.

Whether you are going camping, or might not have immediate access to a garbage can, always make sure your used tampons do not touch your other personal things. 

Use Tampon Disposal Bags for Extra Discreteness

Believe it or not, you can buy disposable tampon bags for wrapping your used tampons in.

As we said, some tampon brands include these with their tampons. They are also available in bulk with online sellers like Amazon. 

You could buy 100 of these bags for only $16, for instance. They come in little pouches you can easily fit inside your bag, alongside your emergency tampons.

The best part is that they are opaque and do not let odors escape once you have closed them. You can use such bags for either tampons or pads, depending on your preference. 

With these types of bags, you don’t have to worry about having toilet paper on hand. Many brands have tape seals, so you also won’t have to worry about the toilet paper coming unwrapped.

Can I Recycle Tampon Applicators?

Unfortunately, no. Sadly, tampon applicators have often touched blood, which is considered human waste.

Therefore, with that kind of contamination on the plastic, tampon applicators are not recyclable.

If you want to try a more eco-friendly option, you can give organic tampons a shot. Such tampons take roughly six months to degrade, so they will not spend centuries sitting in a landfill.

Alternatives to Tampons

If you do not want to deal with hiding tampons or to find a place to throw them out, you can use a few alternatives instead.

Cloth Pads

It sounds gross and kind of strange, but hear us out.

Cloth pads are pretty much regular pads, only made of cotton, hemp, or bamboo. All these are reusable materials that last a long time (at least five years) with proper care. 

You can carry cloth pads around in a disposal bag and quickly get through the day with a few of them. If you are worried about bad smells, simply change them throughout the day.

Most cloth pads come with snaps so you can secure them around your panties without them slipping. 

Of course, make sure to put the smelly ones in a disposable bag until you can wash them.

Speaking of, you can wash cloth pads in either a washing machine or by hand. 

Menstrual Cups

Menstrual cups, like tampons, are inserted into the vagina. While there, they collect menstrual blood for a few hours.

After four to twelve hours, you take out the cup and empty the contents into the toilet. Rinse it out with lukewarm water and then reinsert it.  

Once your period is over, you let the menstrual cup sit in boiling water for at least five minutes. Dry the cup and store it safely at room temperature until you need it again. 

Menstrual cups can hold a little more menstrual fluid than tampons.

You can also use the same cup for years at a time, so they will save you a little money on restocking your tampon stash in the long run.

Final Thoughts

In short, the most responsible way to dispose of tampons is to wrap them in toilet paper and throw them away.

Never flush them down a toilet.

Do not leave used tampons among your personal items.

Always make sure you throw away a garbage bin of tampons within a day or two. 

Finally, disposable tampon bags might be your best friend on the go. 

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