Can You Compost Menstrual Products?

Composting is returning biodegradable material back to the earth. Usually we compost food, tea bags and garden waste. But what about other products you use?

Have you ever considered if pads, panty liners and tampons can be composted too?

Picture this, a woman uses 17,000 pads in her lifetime. Can you imagine all that waste stacked up in one big pile?

Conventional pads and panty liners are made from up to 90% crude oil plastics and therefore are not compostable or biodegradable. In fact, composting them would be the equivalent of burying a handful of plastic bags in the ground; pointless and damaging to the environment! However, that big waste footprint is not something you have to accept!

If you use menstrual products that are plastic-free (like Natracare) and made from natural biodegradable materials such as organic cotton and plant cellulose, then Yes! – you can compost pads and tampons!

How should you compost natural pads and tampons?

  1. Firstly, ensure you are using natural pads, panty liners and tampons for your time of the month. These should be made from only natural, plant based materials (how do you know? read the ingredients list on the pack. If there isn’t one it probably isn’t compostable or get in touch with the manufacturer to check!)
  2. Create the correct conditions (i.e. damp and warm) by making a well-sealed compost bin and adding to it regularly. Using a properly enclosed bin is also really important to avoid attracting vermin.
  3. Ensure your compost has a good balance of green and brown compost
    • Green compost includes veggie peelings and grass cuttings etc. – softer, damper stuff that breaks down relatively quickly.
    • Brown compost involves fibrous things like cardboard and pruning clippings and natural pads and tampons which take longer to biodegrade than ‘green’ compost.
  4. To speed up the composting process, it’s a good idea to break up the pads and liners by hand (or with scissors) before putting them in the compost bin. Ideally, separate the backing layer which holds a small amount of adhesive – this can be composted too.
  5. Pat yourself on the back for choosing monthly products that won’t contribute to landfill!

We recommend waiting 18-24 months for the complete breakdown of menstrual products in the compost. Make sure it is biodegradable waste, then ensure it stays warm, moist and well aired. This ensures it breaks down in a beneficial way that returns all the building blocks of nature to the soil to better fuel future plant growth.

Want to know more about compostable products? Discover our nature friendly range of products here.

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2 thoughts on “Can You Compost Menstrual Products?

  1. Mel said:

    Have have you actually worked with a compost facility or backyard composter to get to these conclusions? Usually, when a product is tested for composting, the manufacturer has information on how long it takes to breakdown instead of vague reccomendations on how a standard compost pile works.

    Are these considered a brown or a green? Have you even consulted with a compost professional to determine the feasibility of composting these products? have you done any kind of experimentation?

    • Natracare said:

      All Natracare products are considered compostable, and are classed as brown compost.

      Currently each raw material has its own compost certificate, i.e. glue, the plant-based backing etc. Our products are currently undergoing composting tests to get more official data for the composting of a whole pad or tampon. We’re very proud of the home-compostable status of all of our period products and wipes.

      We know many of our users regularly compost our products and some of them have done so for years. We recommend at least 12 but generally 18 months if using your average standard home compost – just to be safe. We’ve yet to hear about an unexpected surprise.