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Can sanitary napkins be biodegraded?

In India, it’s always been taboo to talk about your periods, slowly this trend is changing, and also as more information is becoming available to women, they can make better decisions about their bodies & menstrual health. One such shift is towards green menstruation.

In recent years, women are making a conscious shift towards Organic pads, menstrual cups, cloth napkins and other safer eco-friendly options. Key reasons for the transition is because of increase in awareness of commercial sanitary pads, their harmful effects on the environment & the body and the easy availability of safer, better organic options in the market.

The organic sanitary pads market has grown tremendously in the past three years, with companies coming up with innovative, environmentally safe & healthier options. It is a silent, slow revolution in the female hygiene market, with women willing to experiment & change to these newer, better options. In a way, this is a solution to the large amount of sanitary waste generated in India. 

Impact of traditional pads on the environment

Sanitary waste management in India lacks the necessary infrastructure for the proper disposal of sanitary pads. With pads clogging up toilet pipes, filling up septic tanks, thrown out in the open or being wrapped in newspaper and disposed of in garbage bins, it creates difficulties for women, local waste management authorities & the environment. And the constant dilemma on whether to consider pads bio-medical or plastic waste further compounds the problem. 

In India alone, about 12.3 billion disposable sanitary napkins are used per year, amounting to 113,000 tonnes of waste. Data on menstrual waste management from MDWS states that 28 per cent of such pads are thrown with routine waste, 28 per cent are thrown in open, 33 per cent are disposed of via burial and 15 per cent are burnt openly. Although most pads end up in incinerators or landfills, a significant amount enters the ecosystem and pollutes the environment.

Commonly available sanitary napkins constitute 90 per cent plastic & take 800 years to decompose. They also contaminate soil, water and air & can enter the food chain inserting harmful toxins into plants and animals. Also, due to their chemical composition, these products when buried in the soil, kill useful bacteria and delay the process of decomposition. They also contribute towards contamination of water bodies near landfills. 

Apart from this, commercial pads are known to contain Dioxins & other harmful chemicals, which are suspected to cause cancer & fertility issues. They are also uncomfortable to use, due to their dry plastic top-sheet and causes rashes & allergies. Frankly, Commercial sanitary pads are not worth the trouble and have far-reaching ecological consequences & harm the body, so it’s better to consider bio-degradable, organic options.

The growing shift to eco-friendly options

Women are conscious, concerned about their menstrual health & the environmental implications of their period choices. Noticing this shift, Laws, policies, approaches and period products are constantly upgrading to better cater to this need. There are organic, biodegradable pads, available in the market which are made of plant fibres or by-products like bamboo pulp, banana fibre, water hyacinth & cotton, with cotton pads being the most widely used. Some of them are 100% biodegradable with the added benefit of being soft & friendly for the skin. Organic pads take two years to fully decompose in sharp contrast with conventional sanitary pads that takes 800 years. 

Advantages 

Apart from being eco-friendly, organic cotton pads are super absorbent, chemical-free and rash free. They are super soft and comfortable to use. Organic cotton pads are free of any form of harmful chemicals & pesticides. Also, they are Hygienic and breathable, hence offer protection from various infections. Gynaecologists recommend women to shift from conventional pads to Organic options due to the array of benefits it provides.

Previously it was a big hassle to buy organic sanitary pads, as they were a rarity in the market. Nowadays, as they have become mainstream, you can easily buy them In-store in supermarkets or Purchase them online based on your convenience. 

What to look out for when Buying Organic pads?

·          Buy based on your convenience & ease of access to the product.

·          Do your research & choose the best option that suits your needs.

·          Make sure they do not contain any bleach or chemicals that release toxins into the environment upon disposal.

·          Some brands market themselves to be 100 % organic and biodegradable, but they may contain a plastic top sheet, so always check the ingredient list.

·          If going for an organic cotton napkin, make sure it has either a GOTS or ICEA, which are global organic certifications assuring that the raw material is organic right from the seed to the finished product.

·      Choose a pad that is both organic and does not compromise on its functionality. 

·       It should be super absorbent but at the same time breathable & should also protect you from leaks & stains.

Bottom-line – Why you should choose Hi Life for your organic cotton pad needs?

·          Hi Life pads are made with premium GOTS-certified 100% organic cotton sourced from Texas.

·          The planet is a major concern for us, therefore, our sanitary pads are 100% biodegradable, which come in an eco-friendly disposal bag marked with a Red Dot for easy and safe disposal.

·          Each pad is made with two air-laid sheets — prevents back-flow, stains and side leakage.

·          HiLife pads can be easily purchased online for a nominal price of Rs 333 for a pack containing ten sanitary pads.

On the whole, women are moving towards a greener & healthier menstruation, we at HiLife are striving towards the same future. Why choose substandard, harmful products when you have great alternatives. Be wise and make the right choice for both you and mother earth.

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