bag it and bin it bag it and bin it
welcome to Bag It and Bin It

Bag It and Bin It is a national water industry-led campaign promoting responsible disposal of discarded personal products. It raises awareness of the key issues through distribution of leaflets, stickers and other material to the public.

What Items are we Talking About?

Waste is anything that is thrown away because it is no longer needed. Waste from people's bodies can of course be flushed down the toilet. Many other waste items can be recycled. However, there are waste items which can neither be flushed nor recycled and these should be placed safely in the normal rubbish bin. Waste sanitary and pharmaceutical items should, for health reasons, first be placed in bags before being put in the bin. The Bag It & Bin It campaign focuses in particular on items such as:
  • Cotton buds
  • Condoms and Femidoms
  • Tampons and tampon applicators
  • Sanitary towels, panty liners and backing strips
  • Facial and cleaning wipes
  • Disposable nappies
  • Incontinence pads
  • Old bandages
  • Razor blades
  • Syringes and needles
  • Colostomy bags
  • Medicine
  • any other items e.g. food, plastics, toilet roll tubes, tights etc

What's the Problem?

The toilet and sewerage system is designed to deal with urine, faeces and toilet tissue. If you flush other items down the toilet it can easily lead to blockages in the pipes and can cause flooding. But that is not the only problem that may occur. When the waste eventually gets to the sewage treatment plant it can block the plants' filter screens. If there is heavy rainfall, this waste may escape from overflow pipes directly into the river and sea. This waste is known as Sanitary Related Debris (SRD).

The Scale of the Problem

An estimated 2 billion sanitary protection items such as condoms, tampons, razors and cotton buds are flushed down toilets each year. Our sewers were not designed for this sort of waste and despite the efforts of the water industry to remove these products from the system, some of them still escape the system and end up on beaches, riverbanks and canal sides. The 2003 Marine Conservation Society Beachwatch Campaign collected over 21,000 items of SRD accounting for 7.8% of the total waste collected. This amounts to an average of 160 items per KM of coastline.

The Impact of Sewage Related Debris (SRD)

SRD can end up on British beaches and riverbanks and can pose a health risk to humans and wildlife alike. It also looks horrid. Would you like to walk down the beach and see a condom in the seaweed and a tampon applicator in a rock pool?

Marine wildlife can also suffer greatly. They often mistake plastic materials for food. Sea birds have been found with condoms in their stomachs and turtles have been found to have a wide variety of plastics in their stomachs.

They can confuse small pieces of plastic for food and have been seen trying to feed this to their chicks. SRD can also be mistaken for nesting material. The long term effects of plastics to marine wildlife is not yet known but the health risks from used sanitary products, razor blades, out of date medicines, used condoms, dirty needles and the like cannot be underestimated.

The visual impact of this litter on the environment is also significant. An ENCAMS study found that SRD was one of the biggest causes of offence to beach visitors. It has been estimated that local authorities spend up to £14 billion cleaning up beach rubbish every year.

Bag It and Bin It

Disposable products are an everyday part of life. They are easy and convenient to use and easy and convenient to dispose of. But you should not flush them away.

Be part of the solution; follow the simple disposal code: Don't Flush It …Bag It & Bin It


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