Break it Down: Does it Matter if Your Tampon is Biodegradable?
Biodegradable – it’s a term we’ve all heard, but what does this marketing buzzword really mean and how do femme care products play into the equation?
The biodegradable label is on a wide range of products, sometimes inaccurately so or without proper clarification. For tampons, marketing with this label can be enticing for customers, but it can have hazardous repercussions.
Organic tampons may be classifiable as biodegradable because they are comprised of organic cotton. Cotton is a material which should break down naturally in the environment, meaning it is biodegradable. However, even 100% cotton will take a long time to compost down, which gives bacteria or pathogens an ideal opportunity to breed. Additionally, many experts posit that tampons are in fact biohazards and thus should not go back into the environment.
If femme care products like tampons (yes, even organic ones) are biohazards, they should not be composted after use because they can spread disease. They should be thrown out, meaning that the label “biodegradable” does not, in essence, matter. It does not make organic products superior as such.
There are many myths perpetuated about the superiority of organic tampons, marketing claims that have been widely disproven. Labels like “organic” and “biodegradable” imply that these products are healthier and safer for your body, that other products are, by default, not healthy and not safe. These claims are unfounded, untrue, and do major damage by stoking fear among customers.
If a product is labeled as biodegradable, or branded with any marketing buzzword you don’t fully understand, it is crucial to find out what these words mean. Not just for your edification, but, in the case of the biodegradability of tampons, for safety reasons. Remember: used tampons (and pads) are biohazards and should be properly disposed of.
As with all things, it’s important to do your research so you feel good knowing you’ve made informed purchases.