Safe Menstrual Disposal - The Importance Of The Right Way

Pads and tampons should not be thrown in the trash unless they have been properly wrapped or sealed in a bag to prevent leakage

The menstrual cycle is the process of losing blood from the uterus each month and typically begins during pre-adolescence and ends with menopause. The menstrual cycle is not just a biological process, it has real socio-economic and environmental ramifications as well. Keeping this in mind, one of the issues that is least discussed is the importance of safe and hygienic disposal of menstrual waste in India. As per a report by the Menstrual Hygiene Alliance of India (MHAI), the country has approximately 336 million menstruating women, out of which 36 per cent use disposable sanitary napkins — that totals to 121 million women using about 12.3 billion, mostly non-biodegradable, disposable sanitary napkins each year.

Thus, keeping in mind these mammoth numbers, it is vital to be informed and conscious of the importance of menstrual hygiene and the correct way to dispose used menstrual products. Despite their detrimental impact on the environment and the health of society, many people do not know how to properly dispose of sanitary products. For example, if a sanitary product becomes soiled, it can harbour pathogens and germs that can be harmful to people’s health. In this article, we discuss how to dispose of menstrual products in the right way.

Menstrual Waste Disposal: A Safe Practice

It is not uncommon to see soiled sanitary pads lying around on the road without proper packaging or covering. Once waste pickers collect these soiled products, it exposes them to dirt and bacteria, leaving them at the risk of developing infections. Thus, it is essential that sanitary napkins, pads, and tampons are treated akin to biomedical waste and should be disposed of as carefully as cotton, needles, and other medical waste.

Below are a few ways to safely dispose of menstrual products during menstruation:

Sanitary pads or Tampons:

In India, there are three main ways to dispose of a sanitary pad or tampon. The first way is to wrap a sanitary pad or tampon in a piece of paper and dispose it of in a trashcan or dustbin. The second way is to bury it in the ground, which involves digging a small hole and burying it deep enough that it's not visible. The final way is to incinerate the pad or tampon with a stove or other heat source. Once it has been completely burned, the ashes can then be disposed of in the trash.

It is important to note that pads and tampons should never be flushed down the toilet as this can lead to clogged pipes and sewage backups. Additionally, pads and tampons should not be thrown in the trash unless they have been properly wrapped or sealed in a bag to prevent leakage. By following these simple guidelines, you can help keep your home clean and sanitary while also helping to protect the environment.

Menstrual Cup:

Menstrual cups are a fantastic way to manage your period, but they need to be disposed of properly to prevent any health hazards. The first step is to empty the cup into the toilet, then you can simply rinse it out with water and soap before putting it back in. Once the cup’s lifespan is passed and it needs to be disposed. Make sure to wrap it up in toilet paper before throwing it in the dustbin or trashcan. Once you have done this, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. And that's it! You have now successfully disposed of your menstrual cup.

Cloth or Reusable pads:

Most women don't think about how they're going to dispose of the cloth or reusable pads after they've used them, but it's a fairly important consideration. The first thing you need to do is to remove any solid waste. Then, rinse the item in cold water. If you're using a washing machine, set it to the delicate cycle. Once the item is clean, you can either hang it to dry or put it in the dryer on low heat. When disposing of cloth or reusable pads, it's important to keep in mind that they can take a long time to decompose. To reduce your impact on the environment, it's best to compost them or use them as mulch in your garden. With a little bit of care, you can ensure that your cloth or reusable pads are disposed of properly and cause minimal harm to the planet.

Menstrual health products must be disposed of properly not only to protect an individual's health but also to avoid environmental impact and infections caused due to contamination. Follow these simple tips to make sure you're disposing of your used pads and tampons safely. 

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safe menstrual disposal Menstruation


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