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World Environment Day, which falls on June 5, is intended to raise awareness about the world’s rapidly deteriorating environmental quality. If you’re thinking about making the switch to sustainable living this year, NOW is the time to replace your environmentally toxic period products with eco-friendly alternatives.
Certain period products such as sanitary pads and tampons, are frequently made of harsh chemicals (which include parabens, phthalates, and bisphenols), layers of plastic, and non-biodegradable mediums. They are not the best for the environment because they can take up to 500-800 years to break down, according to the Global Sustainability Institute. They aren’t safe for you as well because they can cause rashes, infections, and even the more serious toxic shock syndrome. And unfortunately, before they break down, they may end up in landfills, polluting the ocean, rivers, and beaches and contaminating our water supply. With growing environmental concerns, more women are willing to make sustainable choices when it comes to menstrual hygiene.
Switching to reusable period products is the most environmentally friendly thing you can do. We’ve compiled a list of five eco-friendly period products.
Reusable menstrual products are also not completely safe for the environment but they could cause lesser environmental damage than single use products.
Menstrual cups are significantly better for the environment than other period products. They differ from other products in the sense that they collect blood flow rather than absorb it. They are environment-friendly because they are made of medical grade silicone (a man-made polymer that does not biodegrade but is easily recycled) or natural rubber. It can be emptied every 10–12 hours. When it’s full, simply remove and pour down the toilet, rinse, and then reinsert, making it a super sustainable option. They can last for up to ten years. For some, menstrual cups may appear intimidating, but once you get the hang of them, they’re quite simple to use. Choose the appropriate size for you!
If you’re ready to switch your period products, period underwear is a must-try. Period underwear, also known as period panties, is the best replacement for single-use period products such as pads and tampons. It is made of natural fibres such as cotton, bamboo, and synthetic fibres and is worn in the same way as regular underwear. They are ideal for the environment because they can last for approximately two years. They’ll keep you dry and comfortable down there. After one time use, simply remove, rinse with cold water and then wash. They can hold up to four tampons’ worth of blood.
Menstrual products that can be reused have a lower environmental impact. Reusable menstrual pads are one such product and can be beneficial to the environment. Reusable sanitary pads differ from regular and disposable sanitary pads in that they are made of washable cotton and other natural clothing fibres. They’re thin and flexible, but they’re still more absorbent than regular disposable pads. They will last two to three years, allowing you to save money while also helping the environment. They are very easy to clean and can be worn like period underwear.
A menstrual disc is a soft disk-shaped menstrual product that, like a menstrual cup, is inserted into the vagina to collect period blood. They are available in disposable and reusable forms and can provide better protection from blood leaks even during sex. Yes, you can put it on while having sex! They’re supposed to provide 10 to 12 hours of protection. If you wish to go for these, make sure you pick the reusable ones!
Tampons are classified into three types: recyclable, reusable, and single-use. If you must use tampons during your menstrual cycle, choose organic tampons. You will no longer have to be concerned about rashes or allergies caused by sanitary pads. Tampons can be uncomfortable at times, so try using cotton tampons instead. In fact, some of these cotton tampons are biodegradable, allowing you to reduce your contribution to plastic waste.
They are not. Menstrual pads contain up to 90 percent plastic, mostly polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyester, which can take years to degrade. According to the Women’s Environment Network, this is the equivalent of four plastic shopping bags in a single-use product.
If you still want to use disposable items, choose products made of 100 percent organic cotton or natural bamboo that can be composted.
According to Solid Waste Management (SWM), soiled napkins, diapers, condoms, tampons, and blood-soaked cotton are considered household waste and should be disposed of after being separated into biodegradable and non-biodegradable. Bio-medical waste is anything that has been contaminated with blood or bodily fluids and should be incinerated, autoclaved, or microwaved to kill pathogens.