“Half of the population is bleeding,” the Director of Eco Femme reminded us. Some form of sanitary napkin is essential for all women between fifteen and fifty.
The modern sanitary napkin is made out of gel and plastic, and takes 800 years to biodegrade. When I heard this, I was in shock…Why is it that we are not better informed about these problems around the world? Why are most of the educated women on the planet using disposable pads instead of more ecological and environmentally friendly methods?
Once I switched into the ‘unconscious right’ by using Eco Femme’s washable pads and diva cup (a silicon blood collector worn internally) I felt better about not polluting the landfills monthly with dozens of pads that would each take 800 years to disintegrate. I can definitely attest that the Eco Femme pads and the diva cup are comfortable! Any women reading this should definitely try them, and any men reading this should recommend these alternative solutions to wives, daughters, cousins, aunts, and female friends.
After learning about Eco Femme, as soon as I got my next period I thought that I should try this new solution and see how it went… I began by cleaning my new diva cup with the little soap sheets inside the packet. I put the diva cup to boil for 20 minutes, and rinsed it with cold water. Then I followed the instructions that come with the cup: fold the cup in half, push it in while holding it. Once the cup is inside, you are not aware of it. I had to check if it was still there at one point because I thought, wow, it feels like nothing at all. You wear the cup all day and pull it out at night. I like to switch to pads sometimes during the day and especially at night. The pads are very comfortable; more comfortable than plastic pads from the supermarket. I switched pads three to four times a day, and would simply let the pads set in water after having rubbed them with soap. They dried on my towel dryers.
If you switch to Eco Femme you will make a difference to the environment. Imagine how many pads or tampons one woman goes through in a day, a week, a month, a year. The diva cup lasts six years, it’s comfortable and it’s cheap–far cheaper than the plastic pads and tampons you buy at the supermarket. Trust me, Eco Femme pads and the diva cup are the best way to go because you will also feel relieved that your cycle is not hurting the environment anymore.
The Eco Femme washable pads are currently sold in 17 different countries. You can order them online on the Eco Femme website. Some cups are also available in pharmacies.
The Director of Eco Femme talked to us at length about health education. Eco femme teaches low-income Indian woman to make its washable cloth pads. The Director told us that she was curious to find out what sanitary methods Indian women now use: to find out how many women have switched to disposable pads, and how much are they paying for these plastic pads? What are the social constructs involved? The Eco Femme study discovered that 50 % of Indian women use disposable pads.
Menstruation is culturally very complex. Women in Indian cultures relate to menstruation in a different manner from how we deal with menstruation in Western countries. For example, when Indian women have their periods, they are not allowed to go to the temple or prepare food, because they are considered dirty. Regarding tampons: Indian women are actively discouraged from the insertion of any products inside their bodies. It is considered part of the shame of touching one’s self and provokes accusations of damaged virginity. The majority of Indian girls know nothing about menstruation before they have their periods. Consequently, better communication and education about menstrual hygiene is critical and needs to take place around the world, not just in India.
– Chelsea Carter
Organization: Eco Femme