I am a 30+ physician, mother of two who had huge plans of being an environmentalist. Just one of the many things that I lost to motherhood. The other important ones being sleep, hot food and peeing alone.
The cause of sustainability has been very close to my heart and I’d always think of “the most impactful” ways of contributing to a greener world. Lil Greta being my inspiration, i would try and inculcate as many habits in my lifestyle that would help make a difference.
Plastic pollution is a huge menace in india. Partly contributed by industries but also majorly by the consumers. When i said plastic the first thing that came to your mind would be polythene bags, disposable, plastic spoons and plates, etc. Did you know that something as natural as menstruation is polluting the earth with plastic?
Sanitary napkins and tampons contain 90% plastic that makes them non biodegradable. Over a billion pads and tampons clog the sewers, landfills and dumping grounds. Though sanitary napkins are still a luxury for many and come under luxury goods hence taxed heavily under GST, they are still enough to cause pollution.
Many educated women have now come up with better, biodegradable ideas and initiatives to tackle this problem. Making a switch is definitely difficult but your best options to help make menstruation easy on our earth are plenty
- Cloth pads
- Biodegradable pads and tampons
- Menstrual cups
Women have been using pads made from waste cloths for a long time. These have been a cause of many health hazards like UTI (urinary tract infections, vaginosis, sepsis). These happen because of unclean washing and drying practices. A taboo is associated with the period washcloth. It’s not to be visible to any other family member, let alone a male. So the cloth never sees the sun, is always found drying under the sink or in the bathroom .
Better versions of these practices have now been launched in a modern way. Commercially manufactured cloth pads have better absorption, can be used for a long time, and are shaped better for avoiding staining.
A cloth pad if used appropriately, can help reduce the plastic pollution associated with menstruation greatly. Sun drying, proper washing, frequent replacing, clean storing are some of the best practices to have a safe menses.
- Cost effective.
- Environment friendly
- Cleaning is a hasel.
- Chances of staining clothes on heavy flow days
- Chances of infection if not cleaned well.
Biodegradable pads and tampons
Each of these brands are more than companies here to make a buck. They are initiatives started by people who wanted to make a difference for menstruating women and for the cause of sustainability
Started by Deepanjali dalnia, hey day compostable pads cone in two varieties: Ultra Thin (super slim) and Maxi Fluff (thick and bouncy). Both have seven super absorbent core sheets made from plant-based fibres like bamboo, which is then meshed with corn starch for a very soft texture.
Every napkin has an individual cover made from corn starch and bioactive lactide that is also biodegradable. It is recommended that these pads be disposed of along with their general household waste, or even decomposed in their personal compost pits for quicker results.
Aakar is a social enterprise located in rural India. It is aimed at production of sustainable pads at affordable rates. It also works to provide jobs to hundreds of women who are involved in the production and distribution of the products. Another exemplary work that makes them unique is the spread of awareness around menstrual hygiene on proper usage and disposal of sanitary products especially among adolescents.
This unique product apart from being completely biodegradable, is these pads contain a layer of an anion strip which suppresses bacterial growth, odour. These prevent infections and are also infused with medicinal herbs that help in reducing period cramps and maintain the pH of the perineum. It is a product that is thoughtfully curated, comes in one cycle packs that contain 4 overnight pads, two panty liners for heavy and light days
An unconventional choice for a menstrual product but gaining momentum among the educated masses. Menstrual cups are game changers both in terms of usability and sustainability.
These are cups made of silicone that is biodegradable. They are. To be placed inside the vagina and they collect the menstrual blood directly from the cervix. The collected blood can be disposed off later.
The thought of inserting something inside your body can be overwhelming. From the experience of most women, menstrual cups have been revolutionary. They made periods easy and wished why they didn’t make the switch earlier.
To insert a cup inside the vagina hold it inal a C- fashion (i.e. fold it so it forms a C) now lie down and insert it into the vagina. Open the fold and tug lightly at the bottom end to make sure it’s fixed in place.
To know you have placed the cup well here’s a lil trick. Once it’s inside you won’t feel a thing and you will forget some things even there. That’s the sign of a proper placement.
Always fold the cup or break the seal/suction between the outer body of the cup and the vaginal walls. Then alone remove it. Look out for spills. Empty the cup every 3 to 4 hours on heavy flow days.
The cup needs to be emptied once in the night unless you’re wearing one’s that can be used overnight.
- One time investment one cup can be used for 3 to 5 years.
- No staining of clothes
- Easy to clean
- Environment friendly
- Has a learning curve
- Needs extra care for people with IUCD
- Needs regular sterilization
- Needs overnight change unless you’re using one that can be placed for 12hrs.
To all the woman reading this, hopefully you have found better ways to make a difference using subtle changes in menstrual products you use
Why be the cause of such a huge damage. Lets contribute to building a better world.
“This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter”