Sanitary products are one of the top five items most commonly found on European beaches, but what if you could avoid adding to this problem with period products that can be flushed like toilet paper? That’s the concept behind Planera.
Currently, most commercially available pads and panty liners are not biodegradable or compostable. However, a few companies have tried to change this.
In the UK alone, 2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million pads are flushed each day. But if you’re able to get into the habit of using reusable period pants or sanitary pads, you can save yourself a fortune and stop all those disposables from reaching landfills or waterways.
The present invention relates to water-flushable films useful as back sheets for disposable absorbent articles, particularly for back sheets of certain catamenial products including interlabial sanitary napkins. The film has a water-impervious biodegradable layer that maintains integrity during use, minimizes or prevents aqueous liquids from penetrating through the film, and controls the rate at which the water-soluble layer disintegrates and degrades after the film is flushed.
The film also has a hydrophilic body surface to help menstrual fluid transfer through the pad faster and is made from cellulose fiber. The rest of the pad includes a non-woven fabric, barrier plastic, super-absorbent polymer and wood pulp – all plant-based, compostable materials which are chemical-free.
Those who are eco-conscious should look for pads labeled as organic and compostable. Unlike biodegradable napkins, which take years to break down and leave residues, compostable pads decompose in the soil within a specified time frame, returning nutrients for plant growth.
In addition, consumers should also be aware of the difference between flushable and biodegradable sanitary pads. While biodegradable sanitary products break down in the environment, flushable sanitary napkins are designed to break down in water.
The preferred embodiment of the flushable sanitary pad comprises a non-woven web of fibers held together with a water-dispersible binder. When deposited in a toilet, the sanitary napkin dissolves, leaving behind the absorbent pad components enclosed in a baffle made of a plastic film 23. The plastic film preferably is thin and flexible enough to collapse and pass through the toilet system conduits without obstruction. The remaining areas of the pad structure that are bound with pressure-sensitive adhesives should be of a size that permits them to pass through conventional sewerage systems without obstruction.
Historically, women have disposed of sanitary products by either throwing them away or putting them in a trash receptacle outside the bathroom. Some may have even attempted to flush them, which is not good news because the majority of sanitary pads are chemically-laden and contain super-absorbent polymer (SAP) or wood pulp along with plastic liners for waterproofing.
The new flushable sanitary pad from British organic tampon company Planera is designed to be completely biodegradable and compostable. The first-of-its-kind, it fully dissolves within six hours after being flushed and makes its way to water treatment centers where it can be safely treated as sewage and regenerated into renewable energy.
The new sanitary napkin has been successfully tested to comply with WIS 4-02-06:2014, which is the water industry specification for flush ability. The hydraulic action of the toilet flush causes the sanitary napkin and its wrapper to tear apart, which then breaks down into biodegradable plant fibers. This makes it more like a loo roll and less likely to cause blockages or clogs.
4. Packaging Material
Often, when women use sanitary pads or other feminine products they throw the packaging away, either placing it in their purses, dropping it on the bathroom floor, or throwing it into a trash receptacle for sanitary products. In some instances, a user will attempt to flush the package whether it is designed to be flushed or not.
In the past, a number of patents have described a sanitary pad product that includes a nonwoven fabric cover surrounding an absorbent interlabial pad of short cellulosic fibers. One of the problems that has been encountered with this type of product is achieving sufficient wet strength for the pad to provide good wear performance, while at the same time providing the cover with flushability characteristics.
The film of the present invention overcomes this problem by combining the advantages of a soft, flexible wrapper material with an effective moisture barrier and wet tensile properties. The water-permeable layer controls the rate of disintegration and degradation of the film in aqueous environments during use, so that the package remains sufficiently intact to perform as intended and flushable when disposed of.