(The article has been contributed by Srijana Bagaria, Co-Founder, Pee Safe)
Humans are directly dependent on the environment for almost all their needs. We learn to interact with nature in unique ways and this interaction is affected by social and technological factors. Over time, technological advancements have made these interactions more effective but also led to degradation. The millennial generation recognizes this and thinks, acts, and does things differently. They are socially and environmentally conscious and have a voracious appetite for awareness. They also have disposable incomes to support their decisions and buy what they believe is sustainable – for their health and the environment.
Millennials have impacted decision making in every industry and personal hygiene has been influenced by their demands the most, more so in by women. Women today are not only adopting sustainable hygiene practices but also products that can help them achieve this goal. There is a huge demand for personal hygiene products that are chemical-free even as millennial women lap up labels and ingredients and understand their larger impact. With the dynamics changing, even marketers are transitioning to products that deliver what they promise.
There are various sustainable feminine hygiene products available in the market today including menstrual cups and reusable sanitary pads. The other sustainable option is the organic cotton variety of disposables or the biodegradable pads.
Reusable cloth pads
These are akin to sanitary pads except that they are made of breathable fabric, are more comfortable, and can be washed and reused. They not only help save money but are also good for your health and that of the environment. The top of these pads is made of soft flannel cotton and they are leak-proof and breathable. Change them like any other sanitary pad and soak, wash, and dry them properly. The key is to make this switch gradually and according to your period cycle.
These are made of medical-grade silicone and safe to be inserted into the vagina. They work by collecting menstrual blood and can last for atleast 5 years. Imagine how many sanitary pads does that stop from getting disposed! Menstrual cups must be removed every two to four hours, cleaned and re-inserted. This depends on the flow. Menstrual cups need to be cleaned and sterilized after they are used every month.
Biodegradable sanitary pads
These pads are made of organic cotton and come with a biodegradable leak proofing. They are the best bet when you do not want to use the normal disposable sanitary pads or are not yet used to the idea of a menstrual cup.
Organic Cotton Tampons
Each tampon is crafted with 100% organic cotton which is grown without the use of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and having a low impact on environment. It is biodegradable and free from chlorine bleach, dyes and other synthetics.
Sustainable personal hygiene is the key to a better tomorrow. While there is awareness among urban women, many in the rural belts of India are yet to make the switch. This is where campaigns and efforts by both the government and private players can play a larger role.
Many startups are already working in this direction with their products and social media campaigns. There is also a need to market sustainable alternatives in the right manner for them to be attractive for the consumers. The time is right to make the transition and experiment with sustainable products that have a larger impact – one beyond what they are commonly used for. Shifting to these alternatives will empower women, smaller business, and the larger community. It is important as a consumer for us to make environmentally responsible choices that are sustainable – and it will also be one of the best ways in which we can back to nature.