#WARONWASTE - A Period Problem!
By Ashlee Minto
We’ve seen more iphones released in the past decade than types of menstrual products released in the past century. The truth is half of the population menstruates, yet 100% of the 7 billion humans living on earth are affected by the waste of disposable hygiene products. Talking about periods should be as easy as sending a text message but instead we are left with a taboo that has been the cause of standstill in the development of the feminine hygiene industry for the past hundred years.
Bottom line is that disposable period products are not the best option for our bodies, the world, or our bank accounts.
First, you have the direct impact to your body. Your vagina is one of the most absorbent areas in your body. Each month your delicate zone is coming into contact with the nasty synthetic materials, toxic pesticides, and chemicals that are put into tampons and pads.
It is estimated that the average woman will spend 100,000 hours wearing a tampon. This is 100,000 hours of absorbing pesticides, synthetic fragrances, dioxins and plastic chemicals, even including Bisphenol-A (BPA). With the labia and vagina being highly vascular, this exposes women to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) and potentially more serious issues.
Considering 100% cotton tampons and pads are mostly likely bleached and come from genetically modified crops saturated in toxic pesticides, they aren’t much better for your body and the environment either. As for 100% organic disposables, your vaginal walls can still be stripped of essential moisture, contributing toward TSS.
In the end, all disposables lead to landfill and water pollution, damaging Mother Earth herself. The average woman is estimated to use anywhere between 12,000 to 16,000 disposables in her lifetime… multiply this by 3.5 billion. Now, if calculations are correct we are in some serious trouble.
The current “out of sight, out of mind” mentality is having a seriously negative impact on the entirety of the Earth. All of our waste ends up somewhere, whether it’s burnt, put into landfill, or flushed down the loo (FYI, do not flush your sanitary items!). No matter the location, these toxic chemicals and materials are damaging the world. One conventional sanitary pad has the equivalent waste of four plastic bags and is estimated to take a rough 500-800 years to decompose in landfill - WTF?
Studies have shown that chemicals in tampon applicators and the plastic strip on the back of sanitary pads are a large, if not leading contributor to climate change. These products also require immense amounts of fossil fuels to process, creating an even larger (unnecessary) environmental footprint.
We simply cannot suppress the matter any longer. We no longer live in a time where women were burnt at the stake for going through the natural process of menstruating each month. No more taboo. No more stigma. It is because of the silence that feminine hygiene products have not developed and progressed over the past century.
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So, what are our options? The best options are reusable menstrual products (learn more here)! Compared to the 12,000-16,000 disposables, you only need to buy one menstrual cup, and/or one set of reusable pads to last you a decade. This initial purchase will only cost somewhere between $30-$100 verses the estimated $5,600+ lifetime period costs of a woman. To spend this much on a product because of our gender is ludicrous, unfair, and straight-up wrong.
Here is a little list of our favourite Australian companies helping to save the world by selling reusables…