Period Waste War
By Leslie Dawe
How much waste can a woman actually go through because of her period? The period waste war includes pads, tampons, and tampon applicators. The average woman menstruates for forty years at one week per month which uses approximately 20 tampons per cycle, a total of approximately 240 tampons each year. In her lifetime, she will use 9,600 tampons, flushing and throwing away thousands of disposable products and their packaging. Even after they are thrown out, these products still affect us.
People think, "out of sight, out of mind" because they're garbage is taken away to disposal facilities. But tampons and pads are not out of sight, they are in bathroom garbage cans, landfills and washed up along coastlines. Moreover, most tampons and pads are covered in additives, surfactants and adhesives which all find ways into your body. Normally, your body shouldn't have chemicals near it in the first place. The productions of polyethylene in pads pollute the environment. Tampons contain dioxin which is a by-product of the bleaching process in the manufacturing of tampons, and have the synthetic fiber rayon which leaves residue on the vaginal wall leaving women at risk of infection and discomfort. When these pads and tampons get to landfills the substances in them can go into the environment, in groundwater, lakes and streams causing pollution and serious health concerns.
There are ways to reduce the waste that women produce during their periods, such as the OrganiCup and the DivaCup to replace tampons, and if you are a lady who is uncomfortable with using those products, then there are reusable, washable pads called the HannahPad.
They save money and are reusable. As a woman, I do not want toxic chemicals near the most sensitive part of my body. The HannahPads are unbleached, non-dyed, and made with organic cotton. The HannahPad can last years, saving buyers money and reducing a huge amount of waste. You can even compost them when you are ready to throw them away because cotton is biodegradable. You do have to wash the HannahPad after each use, but it is worth it. To make this product even better, the HannahPad has less odour than regular pads and tampons.
It is made of un-pigmented silicone. Because of the vacuum created by the cup, odour is eliminated and does not expose the menstrual flow to air. The DivaCup contains no latex, plastic, PVC, acrylic, acrylate, BPA, phthalate, elastomer and polyethylene. Seeing that the DivaCup is also reusable, that means that it is also eco-friendly - helping the period waste war.
Lasting approximately 12 hours, the OrganiCup’s vacuum offers another leak free option that also reduces odour. It is certified as a hypoallergenic product and is totally vegan and cruelty-free (a huge plus). It comes in minimal, sustainable packaging and a well made organic cotton pouch for clean storage. Like the HannahPad, the organic cotton is biodegradable. The OrganiCup is also free of bleach, glue, lotions, and all other things that should not be inside of a human’s body. The cup has a potential 10 year life expectancy when used and cleaned properly.
Overall, these are only three products that promote the reduction of waste from the female menstrual cycle. There are so many, many more.
What can you do to help win the period waste war?