A German woman uses about 16800 sanitary napkins and tampons throughout her life. Canadian and American women dispose of 1.3 million tonnes of feminine hygiene products annually… a lot of waste!
Plus, disposable sanitary towels and panty liners are also made mostly from heavily bleached wood pulp, from wood pulp from our ever-decreasing forests. In order to promote the whiter-than-white, sterile image disposable feminine hygiene products are heavily bleached and treated. Elemental chlorine gas has been a common bleaching agent. This is a source of dioxin, a known human carcinogen.
What is the solution?
One possibility are washable cloth menstrual pads, e.g. Lunapads. They are a reusable alternative to disposable sanitary napkins; after use, they are washed, dried and then reused. Cloth menstrual pads are environmentally friendlier and do not contribute to landfill as they are reusable and do not come in or contain plastic packaging. Those made from natural materials can be composted. They are cost-cutting because they can be used for years. Further, they have purported health benefits, because they are less likely to cause rashes, contact dermatitis, as well as helping women afflicted with certain types of vaginitis.
Another option is a menstrual cup, e.g. Ruby Cup. It is a flexible cup worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid. Menstrual cups are usually made from medical grade silicone. A menstrual cup is a very affordable alternative to tampons and other disposable menstrual hygiene products. It’s a one-off investment: in general they can be reused for years. A menstrual cup is healthier and safer than tampons for maintaining the vagina’s natural bacterial balance. It collects the menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it, meaning no dryness or leftover fibers. When you buy the menstrual cup, you make a positive environmental impact by completely eliminating the waste of disposable sanitary products. Plus, if you buy a Ruby Cup they give a Ruby Cup to a schoolgirl in need so she can commit to her education without worrying about managing her period for the next 10 years.