To all the women and girls out there, here’s an important, yet, much neglected question you must ask yourself – what happens to all that waste you create every month. Yes, we are talking about Menstrual Waste. Have we ever given it a thought? No, right. This is what happens to the menstrual waste created by every month – The conventional, mass-produced menstrual products are one-time used products and 90% of the sanitary pads is made of plastic and hence are non-biodegradable. In India, there is no recycling mechanism for the menstrual waste. Studies show that one sanitary pad takes around 100 years to completely decompose and India produces over 1 billion non compostable sanitary pads every month. And, this number is continuously increasing. So, where does it go after these are trashed away? The answer, it makes it way into urban sewerage systems, landfills, rural fields and water bodies.
The conclusion is simple, till now whatever menstrual waste has been generated, it exists out there somewhere on the planet.
But, thanks to the environment champions who have taken it upon themselves to provide alternative options for dealing with growing menstrual waste. Here are the top 5 environmental friendly options available, though these products are yet to make its way to the local supermarkets and grocery stores, but, the products are available on orders and are in India.
It’s time to make this green switch!
1. Saathi Pad, a sanitary napkin made of banana fiber which decomposes naturally in 6 months
Unlike conventional pads, a Saathi pad is different; it is made out of banana fiber which is considered as a waste product. The pad is 100% eco-friendly and is made out of materials such as biodegradable plastic, non-woven biodegradable. A pack of 8 pads cost Rs. 159. The best part is that it naturally decomposes within 6 months and is 1200 times faster than the conventional plastic pads.
The innovation was started by the graduates from MIT (US) and Nirma in 2015. Currently, the product is available over the website – saathipads.com.
2. Anandi’ Pad – India’s first 100% compostable sanitary pad
Made out of natural and starch based materials, Anandi (meaning joy and happiness) pads are available for Rs 40 (pack of 8) which is 40% lower than the lowest market competitor right now.
The pad is fully biodegradable in compostable conditions thereby providing a solution to India’s growing menstrual waste woes and ensureing minimal damage to the environment. Currently, one can order Anandi pads via email, the company provides courier service across India.
3. SheCup – Move over Sanitary Pads And Try Out This New Innovation
A SheCup is the most popular menstrual cup brand in the country. Made with medical grade silicon, it helps in the collection of blood when kept inserted inside the vagina. Unlike one-time used sanitary pads, a SheCup can be used over and over again and is in fact much more hygienic than a sanitary napkin. It is available for Rs 1064 on many ecommerce sites. Manufactured by MediAceso Healthcare, the product is tested by gynaecologists and is 100% safe for use.
Just in case you are wondering how it will benefit the environment – When you start using a SheCup, a reusable alternative to one-time used sanitary pads, you save around 125 kg of non-biodegradable waste going into the landfills.
4. Eco Femme – A Cloth Pad Revolution
The company provides washable cloth pads and unlike disposable sanitary napkins, these can be washed and re-used for years. The pad is made of natural material – cotton. Starting from Rs 86, the pads are a healthy alternative to the conventional sanitary pads, it is available on the site – ecofemme.org.
5. Goonj – Not Just A Piece Of Cloth
With a mantra that a humble piece of cotton cloth can save a woman and the environment, the NGO Goonj started making pads for the unfortunate rural women who could not use hygienic sanitary pads in their menstrual days.
Today, nearly 8 hundred thousand metres of cotton cloth has been converted into 4 million ‘MY PADS’ and have successfully reached women (across the country) as a solution to deal with her menses.
Join the sanitary revolution by making this green switch, if you are one of those DIY people, here’s how you can make your own cloth sanitary pads.
When it comes to managing menstrual waste effectively, one needs to take the onus as the waste generators. Don’t wait for the government to take actions, this green switch is in your hands – act now!