Why the way we menstruate today is environmentally unsustainable.

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

There is no viable disposing of the disposable.

How did it become like this?

Disposable Pads.

Photo by Annika Gordon on Unsplash
The anatomy of a typical pad


Photo by Annika Gordon on Unsplash
The anatomy of a typical tampon

What happens when these products are disposed of?

vchal / shutterstock
  • According to waste consultant Franklin Associates in 1988, 6.5 billion tampons and 13.5 billion sanitary pads, plus their packaging, ended up in landfills or sewer systems.


  • An EU report has found period products are the fifth most common type of waste found on beaches.
  • But on UK beaches there are nine plastic tampon applicators found per kilometer, according to the Women’s Environmental Network.
  • Center for Marine Conservation claims that over 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along with U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999


  • Global warming potential: Global warming potential is measured by the radiative forcing effects of greenhouse gases emitted to the environment (Tester et al., 2012). On a single unit basis, a tampon with no applicator produces 6.49 kg CO2eq of global warming potential while Tampax, a tampon with a plastic applicator at has a global warming potential of 21.90 kgCO2eq
  • Acidification: Acidifying compounds released into the atmosphere and are deposited on ecosystems, affecting the pH of the environment like soils and water. Once they’re in the ecosystem, it can have negative effects. For a single unit of menstrual product, the tampon with no plastic applicator produces 59.35 g SO2 eq of acidification, and Tampax, a tampon with a plastic applicator produces 111.01 g SO2 eq of acidification.
  • Carbon footprint: disposables get thrown on the ground, washed into rivers, and disrupt the ecosystem — getting eaten by fish, etc.

But there is a solution.

Non-disposable menstrual products that can be used more than once are emerging in the market more than ever.

Menstrual cups.

X-ray of a menstrual cup in use
A SMART Menstrual Cup

The Period Underwear.


Why only now?

So, what can I do?




student 🌐 innovator @ tks | based in jakarta,indonesia

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

High-Speed Vegas Train Will Have Rancho Cucamonga Stop

Opening New Avenues of Energy Generation

EU Taxonomy for Forest Owners — Part 1

Dangers of Seismic Surveys

The Ocean Made Earth Habitable

A Closer Look at the Circular Plastics Economy — Episode #01

Warming Could Push Earths Rains Northward

Turning dung into gold

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store

Liesl Anggijono

student 🌐 innovator @ tks | based in jakarta,indonesia

More from Medium

Teachers of 2030

3 am where do I begin?

A frightening lesson from the freedom convoy

Melek Çetinkaya: ‘Turkish state under Erdogan regime took me out on the street’