India is witnessing a new change in the positive direction as female hygiene has become one of the most talked about issues in the country. Education about menstrual hygiene is on the rise, yet only 12% of Indian women use sanitary napkins. The National Health Mission of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare along with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in India have made huge efforts to raise awareness about menstrual hygiene and the use of sanitary pads. However, it is pertinent to note that the world has been fighting the war against pollution for a long time as well. Plastic pollution is the biggest demon of all and sanitary pads contribute 113,000 tonnes of plastic waste in India every year. Though only 12% of women in India use plastic sanitary napkins, the number is still an enormous 21.3 billion pads thrown out as waste in total in India by this small percentage of women in their lifetime. Plastic as we know cannot be reused or recycled as it comes under the category of non-biodegradable waste. This plastic ends up clogging our water bodies and destroying our environment remaining in landfills for over 450 years. But as awareness about hygiene is increasing so is awareness about the need for a green environment. This awareness has given rise to the innovation of eco-friendly sanitary pads.
What are eco-friendly pads made of?
Unlike the synthetic pads in the market that contain 90% plastics, polymers, perfumes, SAP and a host of chemicals that are harmful for a woman’s sensitive skin, eco-friendly sanitary pads in India are made up of various natural biodegradable materials. Some of the raw materials are tree bark, water hyacinth, bagasse, banana fibre, pulp of corn and bamboo fibre. All these materials are non-hazardous to the environment. The main issue in developing these products is the finish, feel and absorbing capacity of the product. Heyday has come up with a natural sanitary napkin made from corn and bamboo fibres that look exactly like a commercial sanitary napkin but feels extremely soft and. They are safe for a woman’s sensitive vaginal skin as well as the environment we live in. Introduction of eco-friendly sanitary pads is one major step towards the improvement in female sanitation in our country.
Why should we use eco-friendly pads?
Most rural women in India still use cloth pads, sari rags, newspapers, leaves, mud and husk on their periods which is degradable if disposed but this option is not safe and hygienic and can lead to numerous health issues and menstrual diseases. Women need to be made aware of the side effects of using local alternatives to a pad. On the other hand, commercial sanitary pads are made of plastic and chlorine and other materials like latex, rayon, chemicals, fragrance and dyes. More than using the chemicals from these pads, women are adding to a lot of plastic waste to the environment as well. There is no way of disposing these napkins properly that adds more to the plastic menace for the country. Not only that, these pads pose a major health hazard to the garbage pickers who sort out this category of waste from the overall waste. Switching to eco-friendly pads is the need of the hour for every responsible woman who cares for her body and the environment.
What are some options for eco-friendly menstruation?
There are many eco- friendly options for women which have been explored so far:
- Silicon cups – These are silicon cups which can be inserted inside the vagina during menstruation and can be emptied every 12 hours and reused again. These are hygienic, non-irritating, comfortable alternative to tampons which has a high plastic content in it.
- Eco-friendly biodegradable pads – There are pads made from natural plant based fibres can be used and decomposed easily. There are pads made from corn and bamboo fibre, these components have natural sterilisation effects and they decompose in maximum 6 months to 2 years time from the disposal.
- Cotton pads – Cotton pads are another option as they are biodegradable. But cotton requires a huge pesticide content to be produced so it is not entirely organic and still may contain chemicals.
- Reusable pads – These are washable pads which can be reused for multiple periods. The pads is hygienic and comfortable and doesn’t irritate the skin or give rashes. They are available in multiple colours and designs and are handmade.
Natural menstrual hygiene options are easy to use, convenient to dispose or reuse giving women a green eco-friendly period time. Make your switch today!