Disposing used Sanitary Napkins

By | January 25, 2017

One of the ‘Ewww” things ..

But one of the distinct things in her life.

One of the things which is treated casually.

One of the things contaminating the health and nature.

I donno who invented Sanitary napkins. But definitely it created a great advancement in her life. It helps the women to be sanitized during her period time. It made her lives much easier. It has become a part of her life. But what about the used napkins? How long it could be hygienic..? Used napkins contain pathogens and microorganisms which is very very dangerous if not treated properly.

She uses and throws it in a dustbin or burns it or disposes it somewhere away from her home. She can’t be blamed as there are no other options with her. While we are living in a technologically advanced world, why are there no cost effective inventions to help her in the disposal of used napkins or tampons? After all who is bothered if she is affected with some Toxic shock syndrome with the usage of tampons?

The wrong disposal methods are having a huge impact on our health and environment. Still why is there least attention paid..? Every woman will think at least once before disposing it.  Definitely she is worried on the hands collecting the garbage if thrown in a dustbin.

What happens to these millions of toxic content in the napkins after disposal.. Why the authorities are least bothered on the plastic polymers released into the environment day by day? Definitely they are not fully biodegradable things.

Incineration is another solution. i.e burning under 800 degree C or even higher.  Still what about the harmful gases released via these incinerators or feminine hygiene disposal bin? And moreover do all these incinerators work under this expected high temperature?

I know, these are just open ended questions…..  Still hope for a solution.

What all we can do is just ensure that discarded products are self-contained, thoroughly wrapped in properly fitting biodegradable bags. Thus atleast safeguard the cleaning staff from pathogenic things by minimising the risk of contact with blood stained items.

120 thoughts on “Disposing used Sanitary Napkins

    1. Akhila Post author

      hmm.. tampons also should not be flushed as it wont break down in water.. and it builds up over time if flushed..

      Reply
  1. Akhila Post author

    true that we take into least consideration. but it is pathetic no, while thinking about the cleaning staff.. ? many a times, they segregate waste with their bare hands

    Reply
  2. Sha'Tara

    Thank you for highlighting this important environmental issue. I don’t have any new solution either.

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      ya… we dont have nay solution.. the only thing we can do is to have a considerate eye on the cleaning staff.

      Reply
  3. Akhila Post author

    ya.. awareness program can be beneficial for some…. and some auditory measures are also required from the environment department..

    Reply
  4. cp_chithra_cp

    During my btech academic year in college, one of my classmates who us a girl had begun her research and project on developing an electrical machine that would burn these sanitary napkins safely once you put them in it, under certain high temperature, and switch it ON..and those napkins will be burnt safely without causing much harm to the environment,I hope..she had finished the project by the end of our academic year..and she had also received the Srishti award by our Indian central govt. from Rashtrapathi( president) Mr.Pranab Mukherjee..I am really proud to mention about her and her works here..

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      that’s a great achievement…but what happened later.. that’s the exact problem .. nothing is followed up…might had some initial minor issues to institutionalize the same..and created a mind block and nothing got institutionalized.. even now there are are many such machine available if you give a search in google.. but nothing really happens to be used..

      Reply
      1. cp_chithra_cp

        Truly said! The govt. Or the concerned authorities from the high level should try to bring this to happen and let it work out among the people..I think they arent trying to make us aware that the useful things like these would be a great help for us..after all, great effort is needed to implement this among us..what the govt. Bodies are having is the lack of giving a good kick start for such things

        Reply
        1. Akhila Post author

          exactly.. they are least bothered on such troubles which is faced by nearly 30 -40 percent of the population every month..the govt. bodies lack that kick start. and even if they start, it is not followed up..

          Reply
          1. cp_chithra_cp

            Especially in a highest literacy state like Kerala with a highest women ratio, the problem faced is not mere and so can not be neglected! We are either ignoring or unaware of the serious health problems that would affect us women, physically as well as mentally..!! The authorities should take this as a serious issue, because women are the real strength of the society, because they are the ones carry babies and are bound by thr creator to deliver them as healthy as they should be..health of a mother is the health of a baby..it is connected in that way..so keep women healthy, and get a generation of healthy people! So this social and health issue should really be looked upon!!

          2. Akhila Post author

            absolutely correct……we need to take some actions on this, to put forth the dangerous outcomes of this eww thing..

          3. cp_chithra_cp

            Most of the women, including us are using and disposing the sanitary napkins in the ways taught by our mothers,grand mothers and so on, with a mere and vague knowledge that is passing through many generations and I think there has not been much drastic change in the unhealthy and contaminating way of disposing them..

          4. Akhila Post author

            first and foremost thing is the safe handling of these napkins, and secondly the best solution for this eww thing..

  5. novelistbaba

    of course my half of population has never thought about it…….but after reading this……..this should be a big issue…….i think every year a new brand emerges in the market………but what about disposing them……..nobody talks about that. i read chitra’s comments……..i will work on something like that.

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      if you are ready to work on that, my post became fruitful.. this is really a dangerous issue not only for health s well as for the environment..

      Reply
  6. Akhila Post author

    I am not surprised Steve….even how many women know these stuffs properly….
    ,majority living under some fake image or instructions taught by their parents….they dont know about the pathogens spread…that’s why i called it an information of dangerous in nature..

    Reply
    1. Steve

      But then akhil, we talk so much about pathogen, estrogen, and all ……gen, but then this earth and environment, this nature has the capability of recycling, disposing anything and everything…..Infact it disposes human beings, this is just sanitary products with pathogens…..

      Reply
      1. Akhila Post author

        nope, it’s not like that. i mentioned two things in the post.. one is wrt the infected cleaning staffs.. infected by these micro organism or pathogens .. then second case is the contaminated environment , contaminated by high polymer content which is not biodegradable…

        Reply
        1. Steve

          True…. I just missed that health hazard part of rag pickers and cleaning staff, but you know these rag pickers and cleaning staff are also stupid people, they are more concerned about money then their health and safety,…… Even if something is packed properly, these people open it up to check for scrap or plastic paper…. Even the chasing staff I have seen from my top floor when they come to collect the waste, there is one person in the truck, who is segregating, plastic and bottles and sell them and share the money, in this process they just open up everything, without even realizing that it can be a health hazard….

          Reply
          1. Akhila Post author

            exactly, there lies the problem.. it’s high time there need to have some actions on this ..

          2. Steve

            But then it’s needs education too…and some of induction training and quarterly awareness programs for such people…..

  7. TalkaholicMe

    There’s this question we all never think about. I congratulate you on writing this bold piece. But the question still remains in our mind- what can be done?

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      yes, TM.. the question is still unanswered….. while we are in damn need of an answer..

      Reply
  8. sudershana

    A point that must be shared but usually we can’t. I congratulate you for such an amazing and informative post it is. Though, I have known and read about these pathogens earlier but still don’t have any answer to the question that our dear friend TM asked, what can be done?
    Must be shared.

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      True..what can be done….there is not any answer as long as we dont have any reliable machine to burn them….just think, it’s one of the recurring issues we face, i mean every menstruating women face. Still it became open ended. So sad,no…we just can be a little more considerate on those cleaning staff..that’s all we can do…and yes, make this aware to all females…

      Reply
  9. Vikas Singh

    The psooble way could be that the manufacturers of these products provide packed small paper packets/bags in which the used ones can be put and thrown into the dustbins.
    The second thing that mostly our Indian girls are facing that they find it troublesome to throw it without any cover on it, just to avoid being into someone’s sight.
    The Hesitation and lack of eduction factors make it worse for them to buy these openly, and once used throw or dispose these openly.

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      In fact there are some rules like that already existing, i think. I.e.there need proper packets for these napkins…and yes, awareness is required to safeguard themselves as well as the cleaning staffs

      Reply
  10. Akhila Post author

    How to dispose or where to dispose..that’s the question, but open ended…and never paid a proper attention…

    Reply
    1. Cook with Smile..

      Ya… that’s a sad truth…on one side getting modernised… fashion conscious…on the other side we don’t know what to do for basic hygiene☹️

      Reply
      1. Akhila Post author

        very true…she will do anything to reduce her tummy..she will do waxing and all such beauty steps…but little attention on her period time

        Reply
  11. vishal4u

    Completely out of box issue you bought up, and it is relevant too. Need to create awareness for sure and also solution for it. I believe in Girl power and hope they all will come together and resolve it. How about neutralizing the pathogen by some heat treatment or any other chemicals before disposing it ???

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      thanks vishal for raising your voice too.. yes, girls need to be united.. heat treatment is the mos recommended one. but there are also some limits.. need to act on this…it’s a real burden on girls, not only girls, but as I said on the environment as well as on the cleaning staff.

      Reply
      1. vishal4u

        Yup environment is the most important issue I think so. About cleaning staff, I think it is the responsibility of their hiring agencies to make them aware of the risk they face when handling waste and also have a policy for their regular health check ups.

        Reply
  12. ecstacy49

    Thankyou Akila for bringing such a rarely discussed topic to light. These things should be open. Again thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      welcome dear…it’s a rarely discussed topic, but something unavoidable in her life.. still most girls are hesitant to share their worries on this matter which is haunting them since their puberty

      Reply
        1. Akhila Post author

          yes.. since it is concerned to our environment all the guys should be aware on this…it is not her own responsibility.

          Reply
  13. aishahnaaz

    When I was in boarding, we were instructed to do this. (If anyone got problem with openly talking about this ‘bad blood thingy’ please don’t read further cuz I donno how to say it more nicely.) Once the napkin is used, it’s easy to tear it open. It’s not very difficult or ‘eww’ as it sounds. Flush the bloodstained cotton – it’ll fall easily as it’s soaked, not the plastic part. Once you run water on the plastic part remaining, it will be cleaner and dispose it with normal plastic waste. This ain’t any proper solution, but I felt like this is better of the available options. So I still do this even at home.

    Reply
    1. elaine

      I do agree with Aisha. My mother gave me the same suggestion especially when i go home. It is a remote village and my mother for so many years make sure that most of the plastic leftovers are removed from our cultivating land around my home. The final washed plastic part is wrapped and kept outside and later they are burned out. I rarely follow this in the cities (i know it is double standards, but usually not convenient)
      Yes regarding the microplastics which has recently been gaining its importance in causing water/marine pollution. Because of some recent articles/messages about cancer threat from such microbead absorbent napkins, cotton napkins are advised to be safest. Hence i shifted to choosing the second now. I feel happy that in two ways i stopped at least (some extent) in causing microplastic pollution. One by saying NO to face washes & scrubs with microbeads (instead opted for natural scrubs) and second with usage of cotton sanitary napkins 🙂

      Reply
    2. Akhila Post author

      it’s a better solution Aisha..but even then, dont you anticipate a clogging.. these cottons stuffs are designed to be of inherent absorbent capability. and the more they absorb, the more thicker they get and ultimately leads to a blocking on a long run..

      Reply
  14. King Kuttuz

    This is something I’ve never heard before. I’m not even knowing what happen to these stuffs later on. Well I would like to say your post is more than informative. Its really rare topic that no one will tend to discuss. Such things should get into light and it shouldn’t be just girl things. If it is harmful for the environment means everyone should take equal responsibility. Thank you sister for raising your voice against such necessary basic rights.

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      yes.. the very basic rights.. but least bothered..millions of toxic contents are released into the environment every day, it is only increasing day by day as nothing is biodegradable..

      Reply
      1. King Kuttuz

        Probably nothing we could do with these stuffs right now. What always happen is once discussion is over most of us will only forget the subject itself. There should be some authority for all these and that should make this accountable. Or else once the Hotness of that topic is lost no media is going to serve it. And almost all the words we type are just waste in all the sense. Have you forwarded this post to Facebook !?

        Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      thanks dear…but i am not feeling good even though i said thanks…ya, i wrote this post.. but next what.. that’s what causing me pain..i dont wish it to be open ended..

      Reply
      1. elaine

        now a days most of the coorporations have started segregating the waste into different groups like plastic, glass, paper etc. So if it is disposed in a more clean way, it could be made easy for the staffs. Regarding the health and hygiene part, i guess women need to be more aware and practical, concerned about the proper disposal as well as concern for the fellow cleaning staffs so that it won’t be just not more than a plastic waste. The enigma towards our own body discharge should change and we should be more humane.

        Reply
  15. Bikramjit

    Why not just have a medical dump box.. those yellow ones for toxic waste..

    But I hope someone is listening and does create one safe disposable idea…

    Reply
  16. Ashik T M

    It is a subjective topic which needs to have a good understanding and awareness among the poeple.I love the way of selection of your topic.sooner your efforts will be fruitfull with a better solution.☺

    Reply
  17. sinisterdarksoul

    I find this intriguing and hadn’t considered it. Thanks for spreading awareness on an easily overlooked and rarely thought of issue.

    Reply
  18. writeshefali

    Something to think about…my mind never dwelled on this topic..Kudos for raising it Akhila…unfortunately i have no solution yet…

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      true we dont have any solution…what we can do is spread the awareness among our sisters..isnt it..

      Reply
  19. skd

    Plastic and waste management is a top prio issue. Esp in urban areas.
    Some of the things which we can do:
    a) proper waste segregation
    b) use some ways of ecobins to partly consume the waste and convert compost. this can be used for your plans. Of course, some systematic effort is needed. But at least we need to do that to resolve bigger issues like this. We(my wife;) started doing this and getting good compost for our plants.
    c) Coming to napkins, there are eco friendly napkins in the market these days. Yeah, not very common. Could try out and if feasible, could take some incremental steps towards that.
    d) try to impose and ensure the community around you also takes care of handling the waste/napkins or such items.
    e) Another key hazard is battery/ewaste… collect them separately!

    Last but not the least, find some of the NGOs or orgs near you which focuses on waste management. Support them!

    Nothing is perfect or looks 100% ok. Just try the bit which we can! Because, as human, we will continue contaminating the world due to our needs, directly and indirectly….everyday….everymoment! There is no way it can be avoided FULLY! We can only help to extend the life of this earth. So, any small is ok…start today!

    Swachh World (Clean World!)
    Good trigger Akhila, Mithru My Friend… 🙂

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      ya.. these e wastes are going to be a much bigger headache in near future..how much e wastes are deposited day by day. the more advanced we are, the more polluted the nature..

      Reply
  20. shifafawaz

    Definitely something that needs a lot of attention!
    Great how you came up with it and decided to post in a thought-provoking way 🙂

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      thanks Shifa…it might be thought provoking.. but i wish if it was action provoking..

      Reply
  21. ashiean

    hi akhila. i think this is why “menstrual cups” needs to be familiarized with the women of our nation. it may be a one time spending of a large sum of money, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run. Menstrual cups can be used for up to 5 years. imagine not having to buy pads for 5 years! imagine not having to worry about throwing it away.

    on the other hand i completely agree with you. i dont still understand why a pad and throwing a pad is seen as a big deal. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      yes.. the menstrual cups should be brought into .. there will be some initial mindblocks for using the same especially with the unmarried girls. That needs to be overcome. Thanks Ashie.. Where are you from..?

      Reply
      1. ashiean

        i am from kerala, but currently in kuala lumpur, studying. i discovered menstrual cups while through a facebook video. researched more and got one even though it was a little bit pricey. its worth every cent i paid for. i think once its a little more prevalent, its possible to make others understand that “NO, menstrual cups do not take your virginity whatsoever” . 🙂

        Reply
        1. Akhila Post author

          Are you from kerala..really glad to meet a mallu girl..where in kerala…
          you are absolutely right that it is worth paying…can you let me know any other options available, especially in malasia..? are they used to this menstrual cups..?

          Reply
          1. ashiean

            Allepy in Kerala. Here most of the women i know still uses pads and menstrual cups are slowly gaining popularity. i am quite unsure of any other options. Other options do include period underwear which you have to wash and dry and it is only used during periods. Sounds a little inconvenient in my opinion compared to menstrual cups. 🙂

          2. Akhila Post author

            I am from calicut..
            wash and dry, means a cumbersome task , moreover hygienic issues…

  22. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder

    Do agree with you. In a country like India, sanitary napkins are most prevalent. Pathogens are lethal, can kill someone as well! It’s more dangerous because the garbage workers seldom use gloves. Proper disposal is an important and relevant issue. Thanks for writing on this topic…sharing on Twitter… 🙂

    Reply
  23. Fny

    I have often considered options to pads and tampons, partially for the reason you describe here Akhila, and partially because I generally dislike products that can not be reused. Menstrual cups seem like a great option! You can use them for several years before finally having to swap. I do think that in the long run we – humanity at large that is – sooner or later need to switch to options that are either reusable or biodegradable (or preferably both).

    Reply
  24. Shweta Suresh

    This is something that I constantly worry about too! It’s such a shame that plastic waste disposal is not being carried out efficiently. It’s more disheartening to know that many are not aware of the hazards, and those that are indeed aware are not in a position to do anything about it. Most people burn garbage in an attempt to dispose it, but that creates a host of other problems. With the government taking no steps to ensure proper management and disposal, the environmental concerns are increasing day by day.
    Great post, Akhila.

    Reply
  25. boundlessblessingsblog

    Great Akhila and for the environment it is dangerous too. The govt. need to come up with new ideas for women but you know our times we did not have sanitary napkins though today it is really good but let us see what our future holds for all the women. Very nice post.

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      Yes..sanitary napkins are really a time saver,compared to the older times as you said. But the thing is, it came with big issue which is least noticed

      Reply
  26. Vinayak Gupta

    i googled it… 😀
    Step 1

    Fold your used sanitary pad in half to cover the menstrual blood, leaving only the adhesive side of the pad exposed.

    Step 2

    Wrap a few layers of toilet paper around the sanitary pad, which keeps the pad folded closed. If you prefer, you can place the wrapped sanitary pad inside a small plastic or paper bag, or inside the wrapper that belongs to your next sanitary pad.

    Step 3

    Discard the wrapped sanitary pad in a trash can that is out of reach of pets. Sometimes pets dig in the trash and pull out used sanitary pads, which can be embarrassing. Trash cans located inside cabinets, like under the bathroom sink, or ones with lids, are usually secure enough to keep pets out. If you have pets and do not have a secure trash can, discard the used sanitary pad in an outside trash bin.

    Step 4

    Wash your hands with soap and warm water.

    Step 5

    Empty indoor household trash cans that contain used sanitary pads every two days to prevent odor. Bacteria that grows on old sanitary pads can cause an unpleasant odor to develop after a few days.
    Warnings

    Never try to flush sanitary pads in the toilet. Sanitary pads can clog plumbing and cause the toilet to overflow.

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      Really appreciate the effort you took vinayak. To add on, this is the bare minimum expected from every menstruating females and i believe she is doing the same. And now there are things left, that’s regarding the final disposal or incineration..that part is vague or least bothered. My post is in those lines…

      Reply
  27. Kiran Goswami

    Definitely.. A much needed post. When I dump the pads, the sad thought of some animals infected by it comes to my mind. Nd it’s hazardous for us too..
    I had read once about menstrual cups and washable cloths but I didn’t like the idea of them. I think an effective way to dispose them must be found out..

    Reply
  28. tingleurtastebuds

    I saw a video asking how to dispose the napkins. Wrap it up in newspaper and put a red dot for the cleaners to identify. That’s a good thing to do. But we just throw it. Need to change our habits.

    Reply
  29. tinalhoward7

    The gov’t do not care that’s why things will continue to go the way it all ways been, but if you want more info on Sanitary Napkins go to tinahoward.com

    Reply
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