Condoms on the beach…

Posted: November 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

I was swimming in the sea recently and swam past a used condom. It made me retch. Just what is the best way to dispose of a condom? C Burrows, Kent

Response: The cocktail “sex on the beach” has an awful lot to answer for, but it is unlikely to be responsible – even indirectly – for the condom you saw in the sea. It had probably been flushed down a loo and entered the sea via a sewage pipe.

For years now, the Bag It and Bin It campaign run by Keep Britain Tidy has pleaded with us not to flush condoms, and all manner of other inappropriate items, down the toilet, but this still remains a big problem. Earlier this year, Keep Britain Tidy said that our local councils spend £14m a year clearing our beaches of rubbish, much of which is from waste we flush away. Condoms, though, are not the most persistent offender: of all the flushed rubbish collected on our beaches by councils, 24% of it is made up of sanitary products. Other problem items include cigarette stubs (12%), cotton wool (10%) and facial cleansing wipes (7%).

Keep Britain Tidy says it is embarrassment that leads us to flush things such as condoms down the loo. Once we’re done with them, we just want rid. This tends to override any environmental considerations we may have. The preferred option is for us to “bag and bin” our condoms so that they end up in landfill. Not ideal, but the lesser of two evils.


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