Embracing Motherhood Sustainably with a Plastic-Free Pregnancy Test!

Home pregnancy tests generate a significant amount of single-use plastic waste each year. The traditional tests come wrapped in plastic casing, with plastic applicators and caps. Not to mention all the extra single-use packaging, all of which is usually destined for landfills.

With more women and couples trying to conceive, often also going through IVF cycles, but at the same time also trying to reduce their environmental impact, there is a growing demand for sustainable healthcare products, including eco-friendly ovulation and fertility tests.

The global test kits market was estimated at USD 1.42 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach USD 1.83 billion by 2028, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.10%. The main market drivers are technological developments in gynecology, growing infertility, the need to find results in the early pregnancy stages to be able to have more medical options available etc.


The Environmental Problem with Single-Use Pregnancy Tests

In the USA alone each year around 20 million midstream pregnancy tests are thrown in the bin and go into landfill which is about 200 thousand kgs of single-use plastic waste. In the UK this number is around 12.5 million tests…

Can you imagine how many plastic tests are created globally that end up in landfills each year?
No, this waste stream can’t be recycled…

Just in the United States in 2019, private label unit sales of pregnancy test kits were 17.2 million,  the ones by Clearblue were approximately 6.8 million, and First Response old 6.3 million units. That should give you an idea of the amount of waste created.

Digital pregancy tests have an especially big environmental footprint because of the mini “computers” they have inside. Electronic waste is only 2% of all waste but makes up 70 percent of the toxic waste in landfills, releasing harmful chemicals over time like mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and flame retardants. These not only pollute our air, water, and land but also hurt our reproductive health. These tests take the guesswork out of analyzing a pregnancy test, but they are not necessarily more accurate. We do not recommend them from a sustainability standpoint.


What Types of Pregnancy Test Kits are Available?

Nowadays, there are so many products that can detect early pregnancies without the need for a blood test. The most common home pregnancy test kits are:

  • Strip Tests: these require you to urinate into a cup and place the test strip directly into the urine.
  • Midstream Tests: these require you to urinate directly onto the test stick.
  • Cassette Tests: these require you to urinate into a cup and then place drops of urine directly onto the test stick.
  • Digital Tests: these tests have a small computer built into the product that reads the strip and displays the results on a small LCD screen. (see the comment above about these tests).

Urine (pee) based tests work by detecting the hormone hCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin which is a protein hormone produced in the placenta of a pregnant woman.


Related: Plastic Free Toilet Paper: 13 Eco-Friendly Options


Are There Eco-Friendly Pregnancy Tests on the Market?

Luckily, there are now some options available for eco-conscious people looking for zero-waste pregnancy tests. These options ditch most of the plastic for more eco-friendly materials without sacrificing accuracy. In this list we are scouting the global markets for fully biodegradable and recyclable pregnancy tests.

This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. This helps us continue the hard work we put into researching products and solutions.


Hoopsy Paper Eco Pregnancy Test

Hoopsy is an innovative Australian / UK company  that was founded by Lara Solomon after she was shocked by the above numbers and she learnt that pregancy tests couldn’t be recycled and that there wasn’t any sustainable option on the market. Therefore, she decided to change the status quo to create to create the first 99% plastic-free pregnancy test, that is made from 99 % sustainably sourced paper. This midstream paper pregnancy test is specially engineered with paper made from sustainable materials like cellulose and glass fibers to detect the pregnancy hormone hCG.

Following clinical trials, the test is 99 per cent accurate from the day of a person’s expected period and it is as good as Clearblue / First Response or another brand!

How to use the Hoopsy Test: 1. Open the test pouch. 2. Hold the end of the test with the Hoopsy logo and put the other end in your urine stream for about 6-10 seconds. Be careful not to wee over the MAX line. 3. Put the paper test on a flat surface with the printed side up and wait 5 to 10 minutes to read the results.

How to dispose of the Hoopsy Test: The paper test can be cut in half to wee on – that part goes in the bin, and the other half in paper recycling.

Packaging & End of Life: The strips are made of paper. They come in cardboard packaging that is home compostable, fully recyclable in your kerbside bin through paper recycling. The empty tubes can also be repurposed into storage containers that can be decorated by children. The strips themselves are wrapped in soft plastics, and these can be recycled through supermarket collection (please verify this in your country).

Medical Certifications and Approvals:  Hoopsy’s medical device innovation has been approved for sale by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in the United Kingdom, it has CE marking for the EU. It’s not yet approved by the FDA in the USA, nor by the TGA in Australia, but more approvals are expected in 2024.

Size: available in a pack of three tests.

Shipping: you can buy the tests from the Hoopsy website with free shipping to UK and EU.

Hoopsy Eco-friendly Pregnancy Test Competitors TableOverview

Source / Image Credit: Hoopsy – Comparison of Pregnacy Tests


Related: Plastic-free Blister Pack. A Sustainable Packaging Solution.


Lia’s Plastic-free Pregnancy Test

Lia was founded by Bethany Edwards as the only FDA-cleared plastic-free, flushable pregnancy test. Her invention and work helped pioneer the field of water-dispersible, biodegradable diagnostic test kits. Unfortunately, however, the product doesn’t seem to be available any longer.


Conclusion: Compostable / Flushable Pregnancy Tests Will Be the Future!

Healthcare is one of the many industries in which circular solutions are strongly needed. We all want to leave the world a better place for our children, right? Well, using an eco-pregnancy test that is better for the planet and leaves no trace behind is a good start. We need more sustainable healthcare products and personal hygiene products like plastic-free sanitary pads, tampons, leakage pads etc.

With these zero-waste, biodegradable pregnancy tests now available, women can easily reduce waste every time they get pregnant. They make it easier to live sustainably and align pregnancy testing with environmental values. As demand increases expect even more earth-conscious innovations in this space. Every bit of reduced plastic use makes a meaningful difference in protecting the planet for future generations.

Ultimately, having a zero waste baby is not impossible!




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