If you are one of those like me who spends a lot of time online, you would surely be exposed to several ‘awareness creation’ messages on how to be a responsible Earthian. From gruesome images of fish caught in plastic debris to Greta Thunberg’s disapproving scowl, I am constantly reminded by online content to be more eco-conscious. Reduce, Recycle, Re-use is thrown at us all the time guilt-tripping us every time we consume something. I do my best to conform – I segregate my trash, donate my old clothes, avoid all kinds of plastic especially the single-use variety, always carry my own Shopping bag to stores and even wear cloth masks for Covid-19 as opposed to the disposable type.
If you are a man and feel squeamish about feminine hygiene, stop reading this post further or channelise Akshay’s Padman before you proceed. Because the one thing that really got me upset was someone advising me a few years back that I should stop using the ‘winged’ sanitary pads as they take forever to bio-degrade. As someone who had experienced the horrors of cloth napkins, I was overjoyed when I moved to the US in the mid-90’s and experienced for the first time the luxury of the winged pads. Life has really been so Carefree since then. And to Stayfree, I thought the idea of going back to cloth pads was ridiculous and even anti-feministic since it would take away the flexibility the winged ones offer – of being out the whole day without having to worry about changing. But my inner Greta was Always nudging me that I should do something to change this. The eco-conscious Whisper grew louder in my ears when I read that plastic sheathing in sanitary pads contribute to skin irritations and even complications like UTI, endometriosis or cervical cancer since they contain chlorine and dioxins, some of the most toxic chemicals in use.
Thus started my search for eco-friendly sanitary pads that also afforded me the comfort of my usual winged pads. I tried a few brands – one brand had Kenaf fibres (Gonkura stem) and another had Bamboo mush. Although these pads felt soft and comfortable with that cottony feel, they were far from offering complete protection against stains. Some of them also felt wet and bulky. My search has been on for a while until I recently discovered this brand called Azah on Amazon. These pads, made of organic cotton, feel soft and light and are also winged for full protection. These napkins are eco-friendly and completely decompose in about 12 months. The best part though is the packaging. When you see how they have packaged it, you’d wonder why no one thought of this before. The pads come in a nice pastel coloured paper box and the individual pads are wrapped in paper which is placed inside a beautiful looking thick paper envelope. It is so easy to dispose even in a public restroom since the thick paper envelope hides everything away.
All days of the periods don’t need the same kind of pad since the flow is heavy on some days and light on others. You don’t need an XL all-night pad on all days but most brands come only in packs that have 12 pads of the same kind. We end up having to buy multiple packs to suit our needs on different days. The brains behind Azah have thought of this and have variety packs that include a combination of heavy and regular flow pads. This makes it easy to just buy one pack that has it all. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this brand is the brainchild of two Delhi-based guys. Real life Padmans indeed. The only negative is that this is slightly more expensive as all things organic always are. Hopefully, with more adoption the manufacturers might be able to reduce cost and hence price.
Although I don’t have little children anymore, I am looking out for a similar alternative for the other product that liberated countless women – the baby diapers! If you know of any organic substitutes for diapers, do let me know.