Sustainably disposing sanitary pads

Can sanitary pads ever be eco-friendly?  

Over the years sanitary pads have not been disposed in a correct manner. We’ve come to learn that when sanitary pads are carelessly disposed in landfills they cause environmental issues, due to the lack of biodegradability. Sanitary pads are non-biodegradable because they contain plastic components. Those plastic components take about 250 – 800 years to decompose after being disposed in landfills, some never decompose at all.

In studies conducted, it was found that some people burnt used sanitary pads and others flushed the pads down the toilet. In these two cases, flushing sanitary pads down the toilet blocks the drainage system and burning the sanitary pads releases harmful toxins into the atmosphere.

There are multiple ways to dispose sanitary pads after use, but the real question is, is our way of disposing the sanitary pads sustainable? According to Always, the golden rule of disposing sanitary pads is “bin it, don’t flush it!”

Ideally, as girls, we were taught to fold and wrap used sanitary pads in a toilet paper and then put it in a dustbin. But after putting your used sanitary pad in a bin, what actually happens to it? And where does it go?

The government needs to create eco-friendly and sustainable pad disposing models. Sanitary pads are used frequently that these days if we all don’t find a sustainable means of disposing of them, they will cause more environmental issues. The sad part is sanitary pads cannot be recycled, when something cannot be recycled it causes bigger environmental problems than we know. Sanitary pads cannot be recycled because they contain human fluid/s (blood), with that reason they are made for single-use purposes. In this situation, the least we can do is purchase or invest in eco-friendly pads that are plastic-free and biodegradable.

Here’s a list of eco-friendly pads you can try out.

Eco-friendly pads to know about:

1. Lil-lets Organic Ultra-Thin Super Pads with Wings 9 Pk.

Instead of plastic components, these pads are wrapped in corn starch.

Image source: Woolworths, 2023

Available at Dischem and Woolworths.

Product spec:

  • 9 individually wrapped pads
  • No fragrance
  • No dyes or chlorine
  • With wings
  • Plastic-free and Biodegradable

2). Anna Organic Pads 10’s

Image source: Dischem, 2023

Product spec:

  • Eco-friendly sanitary pad range
  • Made from raw cotton and a plant-based biopolymer
  • Single-use
  • Delicate skin and kind to the environment
  • Disposable pads made with sustainable materials