You plant trees, harvest rainwater and segregate waste religiously at your home. But do you go green on your periods?
Taking up the green cause, women are now increasingly using reusable menstrual cups made of medical-grade silicon. These can be inserted into the vagina, emptied, washed and then reused. A woman would need just three or four of menstrual cups in her lifetime-—single cup lasts for up to 10 years. Many women are also switching to reusable pads made of cloth or banana fibre, in a bid to embrace eco-friendly menstruation alternatives.
The 'Cup and Cloth campaign' launched by Green the Red, a group of healthcare professionals and eco-activists, encourages women to choose eco-friendly menstrual products. The campaign draws our attention to some disturbing facts. “Bengaluru alone generates around 90 tonnes of menstrual waste per day. Most of the disposable pads contain plastic, which poses a big threat to the environment. Each pad may take up to 800 years to decompose,'' says Dr Meenakshi Bharath, a gynecologist and eco-warrior.
The campaign aims at creating awareness on the hazards of using disposable menstrual products. ''If flushed into the toilet, these pads expand in water and clog the drains. They also contain chemicals that are potentially carcinogenic. Cups and cloth pads certainly make a better choice from a medical and environmental perspective,'' she adds.
As part of its awareness campaigns, Green the Red will dispatch a bundle of eco-friendly menstrual products to the PMO and request the government to include them in its various schemes instead of disposable pads.
The 'Cup and Cloth campaign' , with an army of volunteers in 21 Indian cities, is poised to grow into a social movement. “We have reached out to thousands of women in the country. We also have a WhatsApp group dedicated to helping new users,” says Rishita Sharma, a volunteer. Each 'cupvert' spreads the word and encourages her female friends to ditch disposable pads and try out sustainable alternatives which are now easily available. The movement has gone viral on social media, says Sharma.
Bharath recommends cloth pads for teenagers. ''Each cloth pad costs around Rs 300 and can be reused for one and a half years. They are way cheaper than disposable pads in the long run,'' she says.