Cloth sanitary pads, reusable and kind on environment, find some users


‘Cotton fabric should be used to make them’

Reusable sanitary napkins have minimal impact on the environment|Courtesy: Malinee Gopalakrishnan

While menstrual cups are already popular among women, few are shifting to agro-based reusable pads.

Malinee  Gopalakrishnan,founder of Rebelle Nattural Menstrual Pads,Salem said “ Today women are considering to use reusable pads instead of the disposable plastic one.Women have used cloth in the past.There were no reproductive health issues back then. It is only after the increase in sale of disposable sanitary pads women started getting reproductive health issues The only issue with a cloth pad is that it has to be washed and dried in a space which gets a considerable amount of sunlight. Generally which is not a problem in a tropical country like ours which gets 200-300 clear sunny days in a year.”

About the material that is safe to use in menstrual pads,she said cotton fabric must be preferred over cotton fibre. More women are asking for such pads. Divya Rai who works with Saukhyam Pads said “  Disposable pads are non-biodegradable.They are made of plastics.They contribute a lot to landfill waste.These pads take at least 200-500 years to decompose.These pads use lot of cellulose as absorbent material .A lot of trees have to be cut down for it.Disposable pads also use lot of bleaching agents and other volatile organic compounds which are really harmful.”Rai said even agro-waste is used to make reusable pads She also explained the process of making the pad.She said “Once banana plant is yielded we use the banana fibre extracted from banana stem and fill them in a cotton cloth to make these pads.”

Geetha R , a cloth pad user said “ Cloth pads are really comfortable. In fact more comfortable than the disposable ones. Disposable one if not replaced with time can cause infections, They are full of artificial fragrances and gels.The odour is also unbearable.” She said that she did consult a gynecologist before switching to  cloth pads. “My  Gynecologist also believes that the disposable pads is bad for one ‘s health and cloth pads are better alternative.”She also added that these pads are cheaper in long run.You do not have to spend so much every month on pads every month.”

Sreelakshmi N  said “ Disposable pads are extremely harmful for health.Cloth pad is undoubtedly a better alternative.To maintain them is bit difficult. They are a bit costly compared to the commercial pads we buy, but they for  last more than  year.”

Nithu P said “I know that disposable pads are bad,also read a lot about it but they are far more convenient than the reusable ones. I cannot think of using these pads.As a working women I have to travel for long hours.”

A recent study by an NGO called Toxics Link found that the top 10 commercial brands of sanitary napkin sold in India contains mainly two harmful chemicals phthalates and Volatile Organic  Compounds.

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