According to a report by an environmental group, Toxics Link, approximately 12.3 billion sanitary pads are dumped in landfills in India. The report also suggests that it takes 250-800 years for a sanitary pad to decompose, while there is also the chance of it not decomposing it at all.
Furthermore, a non-organic sanitary pad is equivalent to four plastic bags.
As a result, a great quantity of start-ups has taken the initiative to start producing and selling greener and cheaper alternatives to sanitary pads like menstrual cups, reusable pads, period discs, tampons, period panties, etc. Moreover, young millennials and GenZ have also opened their minds to sanitary options that might not cost them the environment.
Founder of Lemme Be, Devidutta Dash says, “There are more than 35 crore menstruating women in India. If all of them use 20 pads in a month, just imagine the mammoth amount of plastic waste we can generate. Fast forward to 50 years, all countries will be drowned in pads if they remain in our system for 500-800 years.”
Lemme Be was established two years ago as a sustainable period brand. “We are growing at 30-40% month on month and expect Rs 30cr of revenue this financial year.”
Similarly, Sirona Hygiene has attracted over 20,000-30,000 new consumers for menstrual cups. “About a million women have moved to our cups and this is without any advertising. Indian women are being far more open to trying products which are helping her get through her period better than what the pad does,” adds the founder of Sirona Hygiene.
While 90% of the market is occupied by giants like Stayfree and Whisper, menstrual cups have significantly impacted the market in the last 18 months.
Toxics Link also suggests that 80% of women and girls in urban India use inorganic disposable sanitary pads. However, 88% of them are willing to switch to environmental- friendly options.
On the other hand, the rest of the population of women and girls are hesitant to switch to menstrual cups as they do not want to insert anything in their vagina.