A few months back, I called my younger daughter when I got my period to show her how to use the menstrual cup and she said,” Eeeks mommy, so gross”.She is eleven years old, she is still young but I want to normalize these conversations so I told her that there is nothing eeks or gross about it. My older daughter is thirteen years old and has started her period journey, she is aware that she can start using the menstrual cup from sixteen years but she is still confused and I am hoping some of her confusion will change in the next few years.

Both my daughters know about my subtle activism towards a sustainable lifestyle, I don't miss any opportunity to spread the message. We had all gone to a mangrove to plant trees, I had my period and I was wearing my menstrual cup and it was super convenient and I had absolutely no leakage. I was drenched in water and soil because mangroves are the interface between land and water and you will have to get into slushy mud and water to plant them. After planting them, I got onto the boat and there were a few young university students sitting on the boat, I said,” It was so much fun and I am so happy I could do this wearing my menstrual cup”.My daughters stared at me with their,” Common mommy, not now, we know what you are trying to do” expression on their faces.

After two years of watching me, they are turning into mini activists themselves, we were sitting at a restaurant in Kolipe and my older daughter said,” Did you see the amount of Tuna on that table, I wonder where it came from, there must be so much carbon footprint, right mommy??”.I wanted to laugh and thought to myself,” OMG, I am creating two environmentally conscious monsters”.

Coming back to our monthly red flow visits, did you know that most commercial pads available in the market have synthetic materials including plastics, adhesives, artificial fragrances, toxic chemicals like phthalates, dioxins, and petrochemical additives? Some pads also contain chloroform which is a carcinogen and acetone. YUK YUK YUK!! When i started understanding how damaging commercial pads are to personal hygiene, I was devastated. This combined with the thought of millions of non-biodegradable pads lying in landfills on god’s green earth literally made me have a meltdown. Furthermore, the average woman will use 15,000 disposable menstrual pads in her lifetime and it apparently takes more than 100 years for these pads to biodegrade. Luckily, there are various options available for eco-conscious consumers today to ditch the synthetic pads and move towards plastic-free menstruation. When exploring safer plastic-free alternatives, here are some things to consider.

-Are the materials used biodegradable and safe

-Is the packaging eco friendly

In my opinion as a writer who focuses on climate change issues, I constantly meet brands working towards creating products that can mitigate climate change and reduce landfill pollution. I have learned a few important things that I would like to share. The healthiest choice for you and the planet will be pads made from organic and toxin-free materials which have minimal packaging and are not single-use. The use and throw culture has got to change so the best option is a menstrual cup, reusable pads, and reusable underwear. All of these options prevent tons of plastic waste. Reusable pads and underwear are usually made from organic cotton and they are so much softer than plastic pads. They also come in various sizes depending on your need. Menstrual cups made from silicone or rubber are gaining traction as an eco-alternative to conventional tampons and I personally recommend this option because I find it extremely convenient. I made the switch two years ago and it is one of the best decisions I have made towards a more conscious and mindful lifestyle.

These options might not suit everyone, if you are someone who chooses to use disposable pads and wants to save the environment, you can choose brands that are making nonplastic biodegradable pads. Fortunately, there are a few companies making pads from coconut fiber, banana fiber, bamboo fiber, etc which are 100% biodegradable.

Hope we can all collectively ensure that plastic pads/tampons going to landfills or burnt can be avoided. We did not borrow this planet from our ancestors, we inherited it from our children, I hope we can try to do our bit to create a landfill-free planet for them.

The brand I have been using is SHECUP, I personally love their menstrual cup. Have you already started your journey towards plastic-free menstruation? What are the issues which are holding you back? I would love to hear from you and answer your questions. For more queries, send us an email at info@ourbetterplanet.com.

To begin your sustainable period journey, log on to www.ourbetterplanet and choose the sustainable period product which suits you. This is your one-stop-shop in India for mindful consumerism focussed on taking care of people and the planet.

May 06, 2021 — Our Better Planet