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Is Period Shaming Having an Effect on the Environment?

Wednesday Apr 11, 2018
Is Period Shaming Having an Effect on the Environment?

Are women so embarrassed by their periods that they forgo their commitments to sustainability?

New research reveals that ninety-seven percent of women are concerned about the environment, yet 85 percent choose an environmentally harmful method of tampon disposal (flushing down the toilet) to avoid placing it in the trash where it might be seen.

In fact, one in four women admits to improperly disposing of tampons, citing embarrassment over their menstrual cycles as a driving factor. That should come as no surprise considering 73 percent of those surveyed hide period products out of embarrassment when going to change them.

On average, a woman uses roughly 11,000 disposable menstrual products in her lifetime, all of which take centuries to break down in the environment. Yet about one-third (33 percent) of respondents believe that these products take less than five years to biodegrade, and nearly half didn't even want to attempt to guess.

The study, conducted by THINX to mark Earth Day (April 22), found that a combination of misinformation and societal stigma around periods may be contributing to wastefulness.

Nearly three-quarters of those polled have been so embarrassed by their periods that they have rearranged items in a trash can to better hide a pad, tampon or applicator they were disposing of.

The results showed that 38 percent of the women polled were more likely to flush a tampon down the toilet while away from their home particularly when they are at work or at a partner's place.

And that's not the only way embarrassment changes behavior: 62 percent of women avoid doing certain activities when that time of the month rolls around.

In particular, women avoid swimming (76 percent), working out (40 percent), and hiking (18 percent).

With a majority of women (97 percent) concerned about the environment, it's no wonder that 67 percent are likely to be interested in environmentally friendly feminine hygiene products.

As women are becoming more aware of the impact disposable period products have on the environment, most (97 percent) would be interested in trying a new feminine hygiene product that is kinder to the environment than traditional pads and tampons.

A whopping 62 percent have admitted that they would be willing to spend more money on feminine hygiene products if it meant they could be kinder to their bodies and the environment.

But more than feminine hygiene products, the free bleeding trend is something that most women are completely unaware of.

Although four in 10 American women have heard of free bleeding, only 31 percent would actually consider it as an option.

"It's time for women to step up and do what we can to help preserve our environment for ourselves and future generations, especially in situations we have direct control over," said THINX VP of Brand, Siobhan Lonerga. "We can be more thoughtful about how we take care of our bodies and the environment. There are many sustainable period solutions available, and your choice can make a positive impact."

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