This is why we MUST practice sustainable menstruation.
Updated: May 13, 2020
Majority of menstruators are habitual to traditional ways of managing their period, with the help of sanitary napkins (pads) and/or tampons. There are over 335 million menstruating womxn and girls in India. A single menstruator goes through approximately 11,000 pads and/or tampons in a lifetime. Now, if we multiply that number with each and every menstruator on this planet, that equals a significant amount of waste. It is high time that we take into consideration the impact our periods have on the environment.
Not only these products pose danger to the environment, but the raw materials used in these products are harmful for our bodies as well
The cotton, which is one of the raw materials in the pads and tampons is considered as "the thirstiest crop". It requires six pints of water to grow one tiny bud. Most pads and/or tampons use non-organic cotton, which is drenched in pestisides and fertilizers.
Pads and tampons with bleach, dioxin, artifical colours and fragrances, odor neutrilizers is a virtual chemical mixture, twined with polyester, adhesives, polyethylene associated to cervical and/or ovarian cancer, hormone disruption, TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), vaginal dryness, birth defect and infertility.
These products along with their packaging and wrapping create more than 20,000 tonnes of waste every year. This waste ends up in landfills and later is burnt, adding to the existing pollution. The average user creates approx 125-150 kg of menstrual waste in a lifetime. If these numbers don't scare you, then you're a monster! (don't @ me).
Products for sustainable menstruation :
With the introduction of products like organic or cloth pads, menstrual cups, period panties and many more, it is feasible to switch to conscious and sustainable periods. Let's know more about these planet saviours.
Reusable Menstrual Cups :
Menstrual cups are being looked at as the next biggest revolution! The small, flexible cup is made out of silicone, or latex rubber. Instead of absorbing your flow, like a tampon or pad, it catches and collects it. Just before your period begins, sterilize your cup in boiling water. Tightly fold the menstrual cup and insert it like a tampon without an applicator. Some types are disposable, but most are reusable. To remove it, you pull the stem sticking out the bottom and pinch the base to release the seal. Then you just empty, wash with soap and water, and replace.
Also, the most amazing thing about menstrual cup is that, it can be used for at least 5 years!
YES, YOU HEARD IT RIGHT! THINK ABOUT ALL THE MONEY YOU CAN SAVE! DO THE MATH!
So, in addition to being planet-friendly, it is friendly to our pockets too. :'D
Period Panties :
If you're not a fan of using an insertion product,
period "panties" might be the perfect fit.
Essentially, these are pairs of absorbent underwear
that catch your flow, no other products needed.
They're more expensive than a standard pair of
underwear, and depending on your flow, you'll likely
need several pairs per cycle, to make time
for washing and drying.
Reusable pads :
Reusable pads are an eco-friendly alternative to all
of that waste. Cloth pads are most similar to sanitary pads, in that you simply put them in your underwear and they absorb your flow. When they're ready to be changed, instead of
tossing them, you rinse them in cold water, then add
them into your laundry cycle. You can
also find plenty of various sizes, colors, and designs.
Cloth menstrual pads may be hand or machine washed,
and then dried on a clothes line or in a clothes dryer,
depending on the instructions from the manufacturer.
Organic/bio-degradable pads :
Organic/bio-degradable pads make use of plants such as bamboo, corn, banana, wood, etc. as its top cover. These are plastic and chemical free and thus, do not add to menstrual waste. The only disadvantage is that, these pads are quite costly.
We live in a country where more than 70% of womxn are not in the position to have access to the basic menstrual hygiene products. Many womxn are unaware of these sustainable alternatives due to lack of menstrual education and the silence around this topic.
So, share this blog with your friends and family. Let's eradicate the stigma and awkwardness around periods and be #periodpositive.
Let's make the switch and help save the planet. :)
If you are already using a sustainable product, mention in the comment below and stay tuned!
Written by Neha Khandekar