Let’s be honest! In India, menstruation is looked upon as a taboo, especially in rural areas. People fear or hesitate to talk openly about it. A lot of young females aren’t able to maintain hygiene during menstrual cycles. There is a lack of knowledge on what kind of products can be used periods, and how do they tackle the problem of sanitary waste?
In India, around 36% of menstruators use disposable sanitary napkins. This implies 121 Million menstruators, who use an average of 8 sanitary pads in each cycle. This means the total waste due to these disposables adds up to 12.3 Billion.
This is just for our one country. Similarly, the global figures don’t give much confidence either. According to the statistics, an average female uses/disposes of 14,000 sanitary pads in her lifetime, which is approximately 135 kgs of sanitary waste.
Reusable sanitary options
Currently, in India, there are two options available for renewable sanitary products, which are cloth pads and menstrual cups.
Cloth pads are completely made up of cotton, which can replace the sanitary napkin. Cloth pads can be washed and used the next time.
These pads are available in multiple sizes, where the thicker ones are used for heavy flow, and for light flow, the thinner pads are used.
Whereas the menstrual cups are made up of medical-grade silicone, which is to be inserted into the vagina. These cups sit into the cervix and accumulate the period blood. After every few hours, the cup has to be removed, rinsed, and inserted again. Also, before and after the cycle the cup has to be sanitized inside hot water.
Which one should you use?
The answer to this question depends upon your access to water.
The reusable cotton pads have one disadvantage that they need to be washed thoroughly so as to remove the period blood completely.
This requires water and detergent/soap for soaking and washing the pad. Lastly, you have to keep them for drying. All this process takes a long time and requires a sufficient amount of water.
On the other hand, menstrual cups are much handy and easier to use. Once they get filled with period blood, you just need to remove them and empty them into a toilet. Then wash/rinse it with water and put it back again. After the cycle is over, they need to be sanitized.
Hence, menstrual cups minimize the water requirement and are the perfect option when you are travelling.
Ultimately, the choice between menstrual cups and cotton pads differs from individual to individual, although both of them are much ahead of sanitary pads in terms of environmental impact. Comfort is also a crucial factor while choosing between them.
Source: The Indian Express
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