Facts about the environmental impact of period products23/08/2020
Environmental Impacts of Period Products
The Environmental impacts of period products remains an unspoken topic. Over 50% of the world’s population menstruates. Yet there were few conversations about feminine hygiene and the ecological impact of product choices women make. The taboo surrounding menstrual periods have actively stunted any development of period products – with little to no innovations for over 80 years. A long hard look at this has led to an awareness of the overwhelming waste menstrual products leave on our planet.
Tampons, pads, and panty liners, along with their packaging and individual wrapping, generate more than 200,000 tons of waste per year. The entire spectrum of choices of menstrual protection all contains plastic – with sanitary pads leading the list at around 90% plastic!
The average user discards a gigantesque 125 to 150kg of tampons, pads, and applicators in their lifetime. Typical tampons are made from plastic and contain several nasty chemicals. These chemicals have remained and polluted the environment for over 500 years. Green tampons are biodegradable in only five years. In that time, they still are creating mass pollution, and the planet suffers the consequences of it.
What can you use instead?
If you have to choose between pads and tampons – choose tampons, especially tampons without applicators, as these are the less environmentally lousy choice since they have less plastic than sanitary pads. This plastic waste ends up in a landfill or, even worse, in the oceans, rivers, and beaches.
In 2010, a UK beach clean found an average of 23 sanitary pads and 9 tampon applicators per kilometer of the British coastline.
The time it takes for a tampon or pad to degrade in a landfill is centuries longer than the lifespan of the individual who used it – particularly when it’s wrapped in plastic. In addition, the process of manufacturing these products – turning wood into soft, cotton-like fibers – is both resource- and chemical-intensive.
We don’t have official statistics in Mauritius, but feedback from some people in the industry says that about 75% of all cases of blocked drains are due to period products flushed down the toilet each year.
Why use a menstrual cup?
Menstrual cups collect rather than absorb blood. You’re not at risk of getting toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a rare bacterial infection associated with tampon use. Menstrual cups hold more blood. A menstrual cup can hold about one to two ounces of menstrual flow.
Menstrual cups don’t contain chemicals found in tampons and pads, such as bleach and dioxin. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some dioxins are known to cause human cancer.
A menstrual cup is a feminine hygiene device. It is usually made of flexible medical-grade silicone and its shape is like a bell with a stem.
Benefits of Menstrual Cup
The cup allows women more time before changing out, especially on light days. Also, it prevents the need to carry extra pads or tampons, which many women find burdensome and embarrassing. The menstrual cup also can be inserted around the time of an expected period to avoid first-day leakage.
Make the change today … for you … for the planet, now available on ecomauritius.mu