Many women struggle to dispose of sanitary products correctly. They often get clogged up in sewer systems or end up in the environment.
However, London-based personal hygiene company Planera has developed a fully flushable sanitary pad. This will help reduce the amount of waste produced by women each month.
Many sanitary products, particularly pads, contain high levels of plastic. While biodegradable and organic pads can eliminate some plastics, they typically use non-shredding plastic coatings and super-absorbent polymers. This means they are not truly compostable, but simply ‘biodegradable’ and can still leave residues.
The present invention relates to a film that is flushable and biodegradable, particularly useful as a back sheet for disposable absorbent articles and in particular for flushable interlabial catamenial products. The film has a relatively thin water-impervious biodegradable layer to maintain the integrity of the film during use, and a substantially thick water-soluble layer to cause the film to lose its integrity after the pad is flushed.
The London-based company Planera has developed a totally flushable and biodegradable sanitary pad, expected to significantly reduce the amount of waste produced by women each year. The new pad has a kite shape to prevent shifting of the pad during use and is made from a fluid-permeable top sheet, a water-sensitive absorbent core, and a nonwoven fabric sealed about its circumference.
The majority of conventional sanitary pads are made from 90 per cent plastic, meaning they can take over a thousand years to break down. They are the fifth most common item found on Europe’s beaches, and one in three women say they have accidentally flushed their pad down the toilet – which is why British organic tampon company Planera decided to create a menstrual product that can be easily disposed of without any fuss.
Patented flushable sanitary napkins comprise an absorbent pad and a disposable non-woven wrapper, the latter being provided with a pressure-sensitive adhesive area for attachment to a woman’s undergarment. When discarded in a toilet, the water-dispersible binder of the non-woven wrapper portion dissolves, and the pad structure breaks up to be easily flushed away.
The sanitary napkins can be labelled as either biodegradable or compostable, with the latter option being superior to the former in that it returns to nature and provides nutrients for plant growth. However, it is important to note that sanitary napkins labelled as ‘biodegradable’ do not actually break down completely in the soil, and should instead be considered ‘oxo-degradable’.
Typically, sanitary pads are disposable and come in two basic shapes. The first shape is a rectangular strip that adheres to the linting of underwear. The second shape adds side leak protection, commonly known as wings. In addition to cellulose fibres from bleached wood pulp, these modern day disposable sanitary products contain super-absorbent polymer (SAP), plastics, paper, adhesive and hot-melt glue, all of which are non-compostable materials.
Some sanitary napkins are sold as ‘biodegradable’ or ‘organic’, but this can be misleading. A pad that is biodegradable will return to nature without leaving residue, but it may take years for this to happen. A pad that is compostable, on the other hand, will decompose within 90 to 180 days and produce a high quality compost, rich in nutrients for plants.
British organic tampon company Planera has recently started producing sanitary napkins that are completely flushable, just like toilet paper. The product has been created to reduce the number of sanitary items being found on European beaches, which is now fifth highest after single-use coffee cups, cutlery and straws.