Climate Change

Globally, over 12 billion disposable menstrual products are used per year, filling up latrine or ending up in landfills. Disposable menstrual products also create approximately 6.3% of sewage-related debris along water channels, rivers and beaches. The bleaching chemical cocktail from most disposable menstrual products can have a detrimental impact on the environment.

Climate & Menstrual Products

More recently, reusable menstrual products like menstrual cups, reusable pads, and absorbable underwear have increased in popularity because of their reusability, creating less overall waste, fewer chemicals used, and being less expensive. When comparing the environmental impact of different menstrual products, reusable products especially menstrual cups have the least environmental impact because of their durability.

Is green menstruationpossible?

Research indicates that one sanitary pad could take 500 to 800 years to decompose as the plastic used is non-biodegradable and can lead to health and environmental hazards

Eco-switch to Cloth?

For a big population of women in cities and smaller towns, familiaritypossibility of reuse, sensitivity to price and environmental impact makes cloth a viable option. However, a debate surrounding the cloth pads is the hygiene and its cost factor. Cotton cloth pads, when used hygienically are a healthier option as compared to chemical and plastic laden sanitary pads, which often lead to skin allergies. On affordability, if we compare the cost of cloth pad to that of disposable pads, the cost of one cotton pads may be higher than a packet of disposable pads, but one needs to realise that the life cycle cost of cloth pad is way lower than disposables pads.

The Solution

Currently in Uganda, the idea of using reusable cotton pads is still a concern. However, considering that sanitary pad brands take no ownership of the pads and have devised no systems for its management, reusable alternatives such as cloth is a better option. 

Also, policies should be focused on stringent application of menstrual hygiene schemes in urban and rural areas, access to menstrual products, especially in rural areas, extended responsibility by manufacturers of sanitary pads and environmentally safe pilot innovations.

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