It’s not a pretty subject, but female hygiene is the cause of mass unnecessary waste. Whilst the book “Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation” states that during the average woman’s lifetime her periods amount up to 62,415 pounds of garbage equaling 0.5 percent of her personal landfill load, it may not seem like a lot, but we are at the stage where lots of little changes are exactly what is needed.
To play your part in maintaining your feminine hygiene in an eco-friendly manner, there are multiple ways you can change your habits. Tampons without applicators save on plastic, there are reusable pads and pantyliners, there are menstrual cups such as mooncup or you can buy disposable pads that aren’t individually wrapped.
All of this, understandably, can be a little overwhelming. Don’t feel that you have to go ‘cold turkey’ so to speak, as I find reusable pads a little daunting myself I advise anyone starting out to try split half of your cycle to using your usual disposables (or the slightly eco-friendlier version i.e. non-applicator tampons) and the other half to using the reusable pads or cup. Obviously, when it comes to reusable pads your washing should be eco-friendly too. So that means no washes just for the pads- and preferably cold washes or even a hand wash. Obviously many women will face issues with these perceptively ‘unsavoury’ lifestyle changes, but as we have seen from the past few decades, our increasingly anal cleaning habits have been nothing short of detrimental to our world.
Ecofemme is a great company and charity that was founded in 2010 that works to move girls in India away from the mass waste of disposable pads, and towards reusable pads. In June 2011, the Indian government initiated a scheme to provide free disposable pads to adolescent girls in rural India which meant that a whopping 90 million disposable pads would be tossed aside or burned each month. According to the Ecofemme website: “Based in Tamil Nadu, India, our goal is to create environmental and social change through revitalising menstrual practices that are healthy, environmentally sustainable, culturally responsive and empowering for women around the world.”
If you’re still not sure about making a change, a rap battle is always a good place to gain inspiration…