Bin it, don’t flush it. That’s the message that is promoted to women with regards to sanitary products. But what do you do if you’re an eight year old at school, you need to change your sanitary pad and there’s no bin to dispose of it?
Don’t flush it!
Sanitary pads, liners and tampons are bad for our sewage system. The materials used in them do not break down sufficiently in the water and tend to clog up pipes, as well as adding to the ‘solid waste’ that needs to be removed by treatment plants.
Not many people would consider flushing a big, bulky pad down the loo but there has always been a certain amount of doubt about tampons. Despite what you may have been told, or what you may believe, tampons are not supposed to be flushed. All sanitary products should be disposed of in household rubbish.
Calls for sanitary bins for primary schools
With correct disposal in mind, now consider young girls who are suffering the initial clumsiness of dealing with periods and how they go about disposing of used sanitary products when no bin is immediately available.
Data released by the Ministry of Health in their 2014/15 NZ Health Survey reveals that the age at which girls are getting their first period is decreasing. In fact, one in 16 girls in NZ will get their period while at primary school – some as young as eight years old.
This has led to calls for sanitary bins to be provided in all primary schools. Some parents have spoken about how their daughters have to use the staff toilets when they are menstruating so they can dispose of their sanitary products.
Does your child’s school have sanitary bins? Have you or your child had to make ‘alternative’ arrangements for disposal? Join our discussion in the comments below.
As well as a lack of facilities to dispose of sanitary products, NZ families are also finding it difficult to afford those products in the first place. ‘Period poverty’ leads to hundreds of girls missing several days at school every month, as their family can not afford to buy sanitary products. This can affect their learning and limit their educational opportunities. It is also what drives many girls and women to use unhygienic or dangerous substitute items such as rags and newspaper.
Want to help? You can donate to any of the following organisations around New Zealand who are working to collect and distribute sanitary supplies to young women in need, either through donation or a Buy One Give One system:
* The Salvation Army Foodbank Project (Women’s hygiene bundle)
* Go With The Flow (Wellington)
* Feel Good Period (Auckland)
* KidsCan (Health for Kids)
* Shine (Auckland)
* MyCup (Donate a cup)
* Lumii (Donate a cup – Auckland)
* Oi (Buy one give one)
* Dignity (Buy one give one for businesses)
* United Sustainable Sisters (Auckland)
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