Lets Bleed & Paint The Town Green by Prapti Gohil
Periods cost. Period!
It’s not easy being a woman, is it?
Our periods, the menstrual cycle is our superpower. Power to repopulate the planet through miracle of birth. Power to keep the human race going.
But it does cost us. It costs us physically (yes, we all hate cramps!), emotionally (“shut up! I’m having an existential crisis here!”), financially (period hygiene isn’t cheap on our purses!) and don’t even get me started with the stigma around it.
But do you know what our periods cost to the environment and to the ultimate mother – Mother Nature?
If you do, Congratulations… You’re one of those few who do and I hope you are making conscious choices. If you don’t, stick with me till the end.
According to Menstrual Health Alliance India (2017), an estimated 121 million girls and women are currently using an average of eight disposable (non-compostable) sanitary pads a month. This usage means the waste load generated in India is estimated to be 1.021 billion i.e. ~100 crores pads disposed of monthly or 12.3 billion pads disposed of annually. It all adds up to a total of 113,000 tonnes of menstrual pad waste annually. It is estimated that India generates 62 million tonnes (MT) of municipal solid waste per year. Only 43 (MT) of waste is collected, 11.9 MT is treated, and 31 MT is dumped at landfill sites. Moreover, it’s an added risk for sanitation workers who have to segregate such wastes bare handed!
The numbers are scary. And to think that the phenomenon that brings life is eventually choking our planet with wastes which won’t be degraded for hundreds of years to come!
So what can you do about it?
Switch out of disposable sanitary napkins you’ve been using for decades and embrace the reusable alternatives. Not just because they are eco-friendly and it’s a responsible thing to do but they will help you save money and above all feel so good and comfortable that you’ll wonder why you haven’t heard about these options in all this time!
Here is a brief introduction to such products to get you started.
1) Menstrual Cups
The most perfect option of all. One cup is all you need which lasts up to 10 years.
The menstrual cup is a small, bell-shaped cup usually made of medical-grade silicone that is inserted and worn inside the vagina during the menstrual cycle to catch and collect menstrual blood. Depending upon her flow, the woman removes the cup every 6-12 hours, empties the blood into the toilet, washes the cup and reinserts it into her vagina. Dance, swim, run, sleep whichever way you want and simply forget you are on your period.
2) Cloth Pads
Cloth pads are a modern twist on the age-old practice of using soft, gentle, washable and reusable cloth to absorb menstrual flow.
Modern cloth pads come in vibrant colours and with conveniences like wings that button together securely around your underwear and leak-proof layers that prevent messy leaks. They are easy to wash, gentle on the skin and a great complement to menstrual cups for low-flow days or an alternative to cups for those women who are unable use them.
Inter-labia pads (as the name suggests) are worn between the labia (folds of skin at vaginal opening) to catch the menstrual flow and must be used along with a cloth pad or a menstrual cup.
They come in a leaf-like shape, are a lot smaller and thinner than a panty liner. They do not have any leak-proof later. They are designed to avoid leaks during heavy flow or flow with clots in it. By using an inter-labia pad along with a cloth pad, you can significantly increase the time you can wear your cloth pads.
Period panties are designed to catch your menstrual flow or mild urine leaks and are leak-proof.
They can be worn alone or as a backup to your menstrual cup. They also come with loops that can hold an extra insert to adjust/increase the absorbency. If you keep changing the inserts regularly, you can wear the same panty all day.
If you are worried that your menstrual cup may get full at night and start to leak, this is the perfect solution for you.
All these products come in different sizes, vibrant styles and various level of absorbency to suit your personal needs and all of them are easily available to purchase on e-commerce websites. Internet will also provide you reviews of different brands, how to use this product for a newbie and stories of a number of women who successfully made this shift happen.
And If you feel intimidated thinking how much it costs, take a look at this math. An average woman menstruates for about 30 years. A menstrual cup that costs about Rs. 1000 lasts 10 years. A full-cycle cloth pad kit that costs about Rs. 1500 lasts about 3 years. The disposable sanitary pads set you back by Rs. 165 each month, roughly Rs. 2000 each year. This is how the options stack against each other.
So let’s do this ladies. Be smart and choose responsibly the products that are good for your body, your wallet and the environment. You owe it to yourself to give them a try!
Prapti Gohil <email@example.com>