Are Tampons Biodegradable? (And Ways to Dispose of Safely)

Tampons have become quite popular today. As a woman, it brings so much ease as you experience your monthly cycle. In fact, various companies recognize this, and that is why various companies have placed attention on it.

Today, there are now various types of tampons: organic and conventional tampons. And you might just get caught between which of them to buy.

Well, if the environment is what you are considering before buying a tampon, then one question is important. And that is whether the tampon is biodegradable.

Unfortunately, you will hardly find an answer on the product pack. Well, you do not have to worry anymore. In this article, we will answer the question, are tampons biodegradable. Then, we will address other important questions that we bet you have on your mind.

Let us get right to it!

Can Tampons Biodegrade Itself?

If you are wondering about tampons and biodegradability, you need to understand what they mean. So, first, what are tampons?

Well, you should not have a problem understanding this if you are a lady. It is a hygiene product that absorbs menstrual discharge. Typically, a woman inserts it into her vagina during the period. It differs from the conventional pad because a woman places it internally rather than externally.

Then, something is biodegradable when it can decompose on its own. Well, not totally on its own but through the activities of bacteria and other like organisms. In turn, it breaks down over time and returns to nature. Precisely, it ceases to exist physically.

So, can your tampons break down from the actions of bacteria and cease to exist? Well, there is no straightforward answer to this. This is because while some tampons are biodegradable, others are not exactly. So, you see, it is a yes and no answer.

The reality is that conventional or regular tampons come from plastic materials. And as you know, plastic takes quite a while to biodegrade, sometimes reaching as much as 500 years.

So, here is the thing if you were to use a regular tampon and dispose of it. It gets to the landfill and then has no chance of decomposing within your lifetime. You most likely must live for another four lifetimes, living at least 100 years for it to decompose.

On the other hand, organic tampons are biodegradable. Just like the name suggests, it comprises of organic cotton and other natural materials. They are even free from various chemicals such as pesticides that can harm your body and the environment. As such, they can decompose and return to nature within a shorter period.

Are Tampons Compostable?

Now that you know better about your tampons’ biodegradability capacity, you still have not learned enough. One thing you need to know about is its composting capacity.

Well, this is even more important if you have a garden, and you are trying to maximize your tampon. So, you are wondering, is composting an option.

Just like with biodegradability, the answer is not straightforward. Precisely, it depends on the tampon option you go for, regular or organic.

So, here is what you need to know.

When it comes to organic and biodegradable tampons, they are compostable. This is because they come from plant-based and natural materials like organic cotton. As such, as long as you compost them under the right conditions, they will decompose. And, of course, add some nutrients to your soil.

On the other hand, when it comes to regular tampons, this is not the case. And the reasons are very evident. Like we mentioned earlier, most regular tampons come from plastic. And as you know, plastic is not a natural product.

As such, it would be a bad idea to try and compost it. It technically will not work as plastic cannot provide any nutrients to the soil. At best, it will release some chemicals which would affect your plant negatively. We bet you do not want that. As such, the best bet is to avoid composting your regular tampons.

How Long Does It Take For a Tampon to Decompose?

Everything decomposes eventually is a popular saying today. And that is more reason why you might be wondering how long your tampon needs to decompose.

Well, the truth is that just like everything with your tampon, it depends on whether it is a regular or organic tampon.

Typically, if you opt for an organic tampon, it can decompose between 6 months and 5 years. This is because it comes from natural cotton that bacteria can break down faster and easier.

On the other hand, if you go for a regular tampon, you have got quite some task on your hand. Typically, regular tampons can take between five hundred and a thousand years to decompose. And within this time, they will mess up the environment and contribute to pollution, sometimes air, water, and land.

Are Tampons Bad For the Environment?

One thing that we must constantly consider in our actions is our environment. And this is because its continuous health is necessary for our continuous healthy living.

Well, that is why it is important to consider just if tampons are bad for the environment. And it even becomes compelling when you consider the number of tampons that people use.

Within a lifetime, a woman spends as much as 2 280 days menstruating. Putting this into perspective, that is over six years. Now, that same woman would exhaust over 11 000 pads or tampons within that lifetime.

With all this, you can tell that tampons can affect the environment. So, does it affect the environment negatively?

Unfortunately, the answer is YES. Regular tampons are bad for the environment. This is thanks to the considerable amount of pollution it causes. Typically, these tampons comprise of non-biodegradable packaging and materials.

There is also the presence of petrochemical additives and other plastic. These materials then sit in landfills for years, as much as a thousand causing land and water pollution. It also releases toxic fumes where it gets incinerated.

They also contain nonorganic and bleached cotton, wood pulp, or rayon. The bad news is that these materials contain herbicides and pesticides that affect the immune system and cause cancer and other reproductive issues.

Since we are a component of our environment, you can see that tampons are in double jeopardy.

Source: Canva

Are There Any Flushable Tampons?

One thing that constantly crosses your mind is whether we can flush your tampons. You most likely feel embarrassed trying to dispose of it in some other ways.

Unfortunately, over the years, you have been told not to flush your tampons. And this is because since they cannot biodegrade, they will not break down in your pipes. In turn, they will merely cause a clog that you will need to repair with money.

However, now you have moved on to an organic tampon. And since the manufacturers promised you it is biodegradable, you are wondering why not flush it this time.

Guess what, you cannot. In fact, there are no flushable tampons. This is because while your manufacturer promised that their tampons are biodegradable, it still takes time for that to occur.

Like we already told you, this can take as much as five years become it happens. Now imagine adding one or three tampons each month into your pipes. By the end of the first year, you will have nothing less than thirty tampons inside them. And remember, all in good shape.

Then, what you can expect is for them to block the pipes. Then, your plumbing needs some repair. And of course, you will be spending valuable money to repair that. In some worse cases, it can even cause flooding of your garden or home.

So, regardless of whether you use the regular or organic tampon, never attempt to flush your tampon. As always, the only flushable item is paper, pee, and poo.

Can You Recycle Unused Tampons?

Yes, you can recycle your unused tampons. And it is even easier in cases where it is an organic tampon. This is because they have not come into contact with human waste. Even more, the material components are organic.

So, all you will need to do is find a recycling company that accepts it. Then, you can deposit it, and you are good to go.

How to Dispose of Tampons? (Safe Ways to Dispose of Tampons)

You will need to handle your tampons one way or the other. And that is why you need to know how best to dispose of your tampons. Well, we will get right to it for you.

However, as we have done in most cases, this will depend on the type of tampon you get. That is, the way you dispose of your tampon will depend on whether you have a regular or organic tampon.

Now that it is clear let us begin with safe ways to dispose of your organic tampons.

1. Composting

Just like we already explained above, it is possible to compost your organic tampon. Guess what, it is a safe way for you to dispose of them.

With it, you will not have them lying around. You can now put them to good use for your garden. All you will need to do is ensure that you do it under the right condition.

Once you do, you will get a favorable result.

2. Recycling

Once again, recycling your organic tampons is a smart way to dispose of them. And just like we mentioned earlier, you can do this because they come in recyclable material.

All you will need to do is find the right facility that accepts it. Then, once you do, you can deposit it with them. With this, you will be doing the environment some good.

3. Bin It

Alternatively, you can always bin your tampon if you find none of the options above appealing. However, remember that there is a right way to do this.

All you will need to do is ensure you seal them. You can use a compostable bag for this. Then, you can dispose of them inside the bin. Ensure you always use the bin.

When it comes to regular tampons, while the first and second options will not work, the third option works fine. You can dispose of your conventional tampon by binning it. However, ensure you abide by our tips there.


Tampons are no longer foreign to most women anymore. In fact, it takes a considerable percentage of the 45 billion tampons and sanitary pads that women use each year now. Unfortunately, regular or traditional tampon is not doing the environment any good.

Precisely, it contributes as much as 3.2 million kilograms of waste along with sanitary pads each year. And as you must have learned from us, you cannot compost them. Even worse, they are not biodegradable. We bet you want to do better.

Well, that is where organic tampons come in. Not only can you compost them, but they are also biodegradable. So, make the best choice and keep your environment safe.

Share on:

About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.