Periods are a monthly affair but we cannot deny the fact that the amount of menstrual waste generated is a cause for concern. The Menstrual Hygiene Alliance of India (MHAI) has approximated that there are 336 million menstruating women in India. Out of these women, 36 percent use disposable sanitary napkins, which totals 121 million women. However, if these women use around eight napkins per menstrual cycle, it implies that India has around 12.3 billion disposable sanitary napkins to deal with every year. A majority of these sanitary napkins are non-biodegradable.
Most of the menstrual waste is piled up at landfills. This ends up seeping into the oceans too. With global warming and climate change being real issues as well, it is important to be conscious of the environment. Since periods can’t be stopped, the next best option is switching to better period products that serve to protect the planet. Starting from something as small as making a change to sustainable and eco-friendly menstrual products can go a long way in making a difference.
Here are 5 ways to make your period better for the environment
1.Avoid using disposable pads
Sanitary pads are one of the most widely used menstrual products. These pads mostly contain a majority of plastic material as their base component. If these sanitary napkins aren’t disposed of in the right manner, they can prove to be harmful to human life as well as animals. Most menstrual products end up accumulating at landfills and in some cases even emptied into oceans. Plastic takes several years to decompose and when it does, it breaks up into very small particles in the ocean. These microparticles are considered bad for the environment as they affect marine ecosystems. It is important to consider this and accordingly make a shift to safer options.
2.Switch to sustainable menstrual products
Going in for sustainable period products are a suitable choice during your time of the month. On days of long working hours or while traveling, the Avni menstrual cup can come in handy. Being easy to insert and use, the hassles of leaks are minimized. On days of spotting, making use of period underwear can serve the purpose. In this way, you end up saving a lot of money as you don’t need to buy disposal pads or tampons every month and you also help sustain the environment as these products can be used for years.
3.Use biodegradable pads instead of plastic-based pads and tampons.
Biodegradable pads are made from natural fibers like cotton which makes the pad decompose easily. These pads are super thin yet highly absorbent. Some pads also come with their own recycled paper disposal bag that is decomposable and environmentally friendly.
4.Find ways to properly dispose of menstrual waste
It is important to ensure that menstrual waste is disposed of properly. If not, it can be a breeding ground for microorganisms and can even cause harmful diseases. Most people feel that burning menstrual products does the trick but that often does more harm than good. The plastic components on burning release carcinogenic fumes into the atmosphere which is unsafe for human health. Do not attempt to flush pads down the toilet too as it can clog the drains, making it unsanitary for a person who has to clean the drain. While segregating your menstrual waste effectively and marking it as menstrual waste helps, it should be disposed of properly in a bin and not thrown around.
5.Make use of reusable cloth pads
Reusable cloth pads, unlike the ones which the older generations used to use, are the most suitable period product. The anti-microbial layer in reusable cloth pads is clinically tested and so proves to be much safer. The cloth material used in the pad provides comfort and does not cause irritation or chaffing to the skin. These pads can be washed and reused for around 3 years.
Recent years have witnessed new and improved, clinically tested menstrual products taking over the market. Women are slowly beginning to make a switch to eco-friendly period products which have created a lot of positive results on the environment. Although transitioning to more sustainable products is an ongoing process, being sensitive and conscious of this change is the stepping stone to protecting the planet while also ensuring you have a safe period.