When I went to live outside my home in a hostel, where I needed to collect my own trash. I began to notice the amount of trash I created. I saw how every month when I was on my periods I created so much single-use plastic waste. Waste that will lie in a landfill for years, They say it takes 500-800 years for a sanitary napkin to decompose.
I was using 10-12 pads in one cycle, which means around 150 pads a year. On average I would menstruate for 30 - 40 years which means I would produce around 4500-6000 sanitary napkin waste!! This is a rough calculation but it is a lot of sanitary pads. A lot of waste ending up in landfills which will be there for many many years.....
Do I really want to leave this waste on the planet? This motivated me to switch to eco options.
I switched to reusable cloth pads. I can use a cloth pad for few years and then it will biodegrade into the soil, Not harming the planet. There are also other options for sustainable and reusable menstruation hygiene products like menstrual cups and period panties.
It has been five years since I switched to cloth pads. One of the best switches I made on my journey to live a sustainable and conscious lifestyle. I switched for environmental reasons but after I started using it, I realized how good it's for my body also.
I used to find using sanitary napkins uncomfortable and would get rashes, cloth pads are so comfortable to use and doesn't give me rashes. The cotton is soft on my skin.
I also read about sanitary napkins containing chemicals that are harmful. Chemicals put as odor neutralizers and artificial fragrances that are toxic. Linked to diseases like cancer, hormone distribution, reproductive issues, and skin rashes. Further these chemicals with leech into soil and water in the landfills. So using cloth pads means using safe products on my body and the earth.
Using cloth pads also brought me closer to myself. I connect with my periods and my body much more. There is something in the process of washing your blood that has made me connect with my body. Periods have become a time of self-care and connection for me now rather than a problem.
Cloth pads are economical, I save money. I invest in cloth pads once and they will last me for 5 years. I spent Rs 1500-3000 on my set of cloth pads and have been using them for the last 5 years. Compared to buying pads every month, I think that's money saved.
It took me the first few cycles to get comfortable with using cloth pads. Using the cloth pads in very easy, I just needed to get used to washing the pads. I have now gotten very comfortable with washing them and drying them in the sun. Cloth pads are a little tricky to use while I am traveling but otherwise are perfect for me.
I personally think every woman should use sustainable menstruation hygiene products for themselves and the planet. Apart from cloth pads, there are menstrual cups and period panties. Not only are these options safe for you and the planet, but I feel they also help to connect with our body and periods, and break taboos around periods.
There are many brands in India making good quality sustainable menstruation products, they do it with passion and care for the environment so it feels good to buy the products from them. I personally use pads from Eco femme and Uger.
Switch to sustainable menstruation for you and mother earth.