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Flushable facts

It can be difficult to find reliable stats for sanitary items. So, we have collected some interesting data related to sanitary product use in Canberra and incontinence throughout Australia. 

Canberra’s flushing habits 

  • 11% of Canberrans we surveyed had flushed a sanitary product.
  • 18% of female Canberrans we surveyed had flushed an item.
  • 5% of Canberran males we surveyed had flushed an item.


  • The most commonly flushed products were tampons (72%), followed by sanitary pads (17%) and incontinence products (6%). 
  • 43% of those that flushed sanitary products did so because they didn’t know it could cause problems, with a further 41% saying there was no bin or other disposal option. 

Source: ‘Free the Poo' campaign benchmark study, in May 2023 Canberra Omnibus survey

Incontinence, something not often discussed 

  • 1 in 4 Australian adults are incontinent. 


  • The prevalence of incontinence is known to increase with age, more than half of individuals are aged 50 years and above. 
  • Urinary incontinence (poor bladder control) is a common condition affecting 1 in 3 women, 1 in 10 men and 1 in 5 children across Australia. 
  • Fecal incontinence (poor bowel control) is more common than people think – affecting approximately 1 in 20 Australians. 

Source: Continence Foundation of Australia