Eco-Friendly Menstrual Products: A Sustainable Solution

Team Ujaas

What are Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Menstrual Products?

  • Eco-friendly, sustainable menstrual products refer to the usage of alternative products during menstrual cycles for the myriad advantages they offer for both a healthy body and Planet Earth.
  • Sustainable menstrual products translate to being extremely mindful of the negative effects that disposable sanitary products have on the environment to drastically reduce the plastic waste that ends up in landfills or oceans.
  • Sustainable menstruation is a movement that focuses on access to eco-friendly period products that all women who menstruate must have. 

Ujaas, a menstrual health and menstrual hygiene initiative by Aditya Birla Education Trust (ABET), has distributed thousands of sanitary pads in the rural regions of India free of cost in a bid to eliminate period poverty.

Now, let us take a look at some of the best eco-friendly period products.

1. Use  Menstrual Cups as ecofriendly menstrual product

Numerous eco-friendly menstrual products are available. Menstrual cups are one great option. 

Reusable menstrual cups have been used in Western countries since the 1930s but have become extremely commonplace only in recent years.

Menstrual cups are manufactured from medical-grade silicone, rubber, or latex. After inserting a menstrual cup into your vagina, it successfully holds your menstrual fluids. Based on the flow, you can leave it in for as long as 12 hours, following which you can remove, empty, thoroughly wash, and then reinsert it.

Menstrual cups need sterilisation after each menstrual cycle and prior to using them for the first time. You may perform this task by submerging it in boiling water for around five minutes, or, alternatively, you can make use of a sterilising solution.

Using menstrual cups reduces a significant amount of plastic waste that is eventually produced by sanitary pads and tampons. Moreover, they drastically lower the use of water because fewer leaks translate to a minimal need to wash stained clothes frequently. In addition, you need less water while cleaning menstrual cups in comparison with reusable pads or clothes.

Ujaas, the menstrual health and menstrual hygiene initiative by ABET, leaves no stone unturned in dispelling period myths and fallacies, while also attempting to eliminate all taboos surrounding menstruation in India.

2. Menstrual Discs, another option

Similar to a menstrual cup, a menstrual disc needs to be inserted into your vagina, where it successfully collects your menstrual fluid. It is important to note that a menstrual disc sits at the base of the cervix whereas a menstrual cup makes use of suction to stay in your vaginal canal.

Several menstrual discs are disposable. However, certain reusable options are available, too.

3.  Period Underwear as ecofriendly menstrual product

This type of underwear has numerous layers in its lining. These layers are generally made from microfiber polyester that successfully traps your menstrual blood and fluid.

4. Reusable Menstrual Pads could be an option

Regular disposable pads have numerous layers of synthetic fibres. These layers usually include a centre with absorbent polymers and a plastic waterproof backing to help in preventing leakage.

A sustainable alternative to disposable pads is reusable sustainable sanitary pads. It functions like a disposable pad. You need to secure it to your underwear, and it successfully absorbs menstrual fluid externally. After using it for the first time, you need to rinse, wash, and dry it. You can then reuse it after it has dried.

These eco-friendly sanitary pads can be reused for as long as five years.

Women in rural regions often use reusable cloth as sanitary pads, and while they are eco friendly pads, they are not completely hygienic. Cloth napkins need to be thoroughly washed and successfully dried in sunlight, which plays the role of a natural steriliser.

Eco friendly sanitary pads are pads that are usually made out of the wood pulp, bamboo pulp, or bamboo charcoal pads, all of which are highly safe and absorbent for both the environment and one’s health.

Women in rural regions are producing disposable eco-friendly pads made from banana tree fibre, which successfully decompose in less than a year. Numerous entrepreneurs have presently taken it upon themselves to venture out into the arena of producing sustainable sanitary pads. 

5. Biodegradable Tampons can be an option

Tampons are by far the worst period-product offenders in terms of environmental impact. Most tampons make use of absorbent materials such as rayon, plastic, or a blend of rayon, cotton, and synthetic fibres. Moreover, they are wrapped in plastic and frequently have plastic strings made of polypropylene or polyester, or plastic applicators. These disadvantages have paved the way for biodegradable tampons.

If you have already made the move from sanitary pads to tampons, you would surely be experiencing the comforts of such a change. You no longer need to worry about allergies or rashes that are frequently caused by the use of sanitary pads. That said, tampons can also be uncomfortable at certain times. Therefore, you must try using cotton biodegradable tampons that are extremely comfortable and will enable you to manage your periods efficiently. With the use of such tampons, you surely reduce your contribution to the generation of plastic waste. 

Sustainable Options for Disposable Menstrual Products

If you are not quite ready to make use of reusable period products, mentioned below are some other ways to make your period cycle more eco-friendly.

  • While purchasing disposable pads, look out for non-chlorine bleached pads and tampons that are made of organic cotton sans any harmful chemicals.
  • Switch to reusable tampon applicators. Put the tampon in the applicator and then use it to insert the tampon, similar to a disposable applicator. You may then rinse, dry, and reuse.

The Bottomline

Eco-friendly period products may seem a tad expensive at first. However, investing in reusable, sustainable products ends up being far cheaper in the long run than repeatedly purchasing single-use sanitary pads or boxes of tampons. To zero in on the right product for your menstrual flow, you must consider your needs and lifestyle, crosscheck the ingredient list at least twice, and lastly factor in the eventual cost.