Menstrual cups to period underwear: Here’s how to practice sustainable menstruation
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 11, 2023
Menstruation, a natural biological process experienced by millions of women every month, holds immense importance in maintaining good menstrual health and hygiene. However, the excessive generation of menstrual waste from the use of sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups, menstrual discs, and period underwear poses a significant environmental challenge. To combat this issue, it is crucial to adopt sustainable menstruation practices that prioritize both women’s health and the environment.
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The Importance of Sustainable Menstruation in Tackling Period Poverty
In India, approximately 50 percent of women still rely on cloth during their periods, which poses hygiene concerns according to the National Family Health Survey India (2019-21). This perpetuates period poverty and increases the risk of developing health issues such as reproductive and urinary tract infections. Moreover, the persistence of myths and taboos surrounding menstruation further exacerbates the problem.
It is high time we shift towards products that ensure the well-being of women and the preservation of the environment.
The Negative Impact of Conventional Menstrual Products on the Environment
The routine disposal of sanitary waste, including pads and tampons, through methods like discarding them with regular waste, flushing them down toilets, burning them in the open, or burying them in the ground, has a detrimental effect on our ecosystem. These commercially available products take hundreds of years to decompose due to the super absorbent polymer material they contain. Additionally, their ability to retain thirty or more times their weight in fluid disrupts the natural flow of water, causing further disturbances in the environment.
Switching to reusable, easily biodegradable, and eco-friendly products becomes essential to mitigate these environmental consequences.
Adopting Sustainable Menstruation Practices
Sustainable menstruation can be achieved through the utilization of products such as reusable cotton pads, menstrual cups, and compostable pads made from agricultural waste, which biodegrade within 90-180 days when correctly disposed of.
The introduction of biodegradable products revolutionizes menstrual waste management and significantly reduces environmental pollution. It is imperative to ensure that every menstruating individual receives adequate education on the usage and disposal of these products, while also having easy and affordable access to them.
Making Your Periods More Eco-Friendly: Product Options
Transitioning to eco-friendly periods does not necessarily mean completely eliminating pads and tampons from your routine. You can tailor your menstrual product choices to suit your individual needs while reducing sanitary waste.
Consider the following sustainable menstruation product options:
- Menstrual Cups: Made of silicone, these cups are safe, can last up to 10 to 12 years, and offer ease of use: dump, rinse, and reinsert.
- Reusable Pads: Thin, flexible, and capable of absorbing more than regular disposable pads, reusable pads can also last for 3-5 years. They are safe and simple to use: dump, rinse, and dry.
- Period Underwear: Affordable and washable for reuse, period underwear provides good absorption capacity.
Embracing Sustainable Menstruation: A Positive Impact
Aside from the environmental benefits, using sustainable menstruation products can significantly reduce the financial burden women face each month. In summary, sustainable menstruation is both eco-friendly and budget-friendly. Every woman’s commitment to this cause will play a vital role in revolutionizing menstrual waste management and achieving sustainable menstruation on a larger scale.
Let us all take a step forward and make a profound difference for our planet and ourselves.