A Different Kind of Recycling: Sanitary Pads

Did you know? In India, 121 million women use sanitary napkins, producing about 12.3 billion used pads a year. Pads are 90% plastic and generally non-biodegradable, taking up to 800 years to decompose- posing a pad recycling problem. In 2020, the Tiruchirappalli City Municipal Corporation published a report which found that a shocking 78% of the city’s waste consisted of discarded sanitary products- a large majority which could be avoided by recycling every pad.

One pad is equivalent to about 4 plastics bags, but while there is a rising awareness of the damage plastic bags are doing to the planet, the stigma surrounding menstruation in India has lead to sanitary waste being called India’s “silent problem.”

VOICE Trust prides itself on its passionate environmentalism, yet the girls in our Friendship Children’s Home had been adding to this problem every month! This is where we got the idea of buying a sanitary napkin incinerator for the Home.  Instead of polluting the soil and air by wrapping pads in (even more) plastic, the orphanage could now destroy pads by burning them, converting them into ash: a cheap and eco-friendly solution!

The generosity of a local donor allowed us to purchase one just in time for us to present this special gift to the children of the Home as part of our celebration on International Women’s Day!