The Problem: Over their lifetime, a person who has periods produces about five hundred pounds of waste from disposable menstrual products. These products are made with plastics and polymers and are not biodegradable, and since they end up in landfills, they continue to not biodegrade there (landfills trap heat and bacteria, and items at the bottom of them often don’t decompose). In addition to this, there is a big problem with loading up landfills with blood-filled products. Biohazardous chemicals leach out into the groundwater and surrounding area and could cause diseases. Improper use and disposal of disposable menstrual products can cause serious disease and even death. I intend to do more research on the environmental and health damage caused by use of disposable menstrual products, and hopefully be able to create a convincing argument for why people should use reusable ones.
The Solution: A lot of websites sell reusable cloth pads for this use. They come in cute designs and colors and are kind of expensive, and they also take some effort to use, sine hey have to be washed and presoaked. However, this seems like a good way to get people into using reusable menstrual products. There are also moon cups, little receptacles that go right inside and collect the blood there, but they are very expensive.
The Project: I want to buy about twenty of these reusable pads and sell them at Hamwil on the first day of Green Week. The first day of Green Week is based on individual things you can do to help the environment, so this seemed like the right day for me. I want to sell them at a table there and donate the proceeds to an organization called Africa Bags. Africa Bags does a number of things to help villages in Malawi, such as building solar panels. They have a few different places to donate to but I would donate the money to either the Africa Pads fund, which supplies schoolgirls in need with reusable pads and underwear, or to the solar panel building fund. Either would have a positive effect on the environment and people.
Budget: The pads are ten for $30.00 on Amazon, so I would probably only need to spend $60.00 (shipping is free). The money would come from Tree House house funds, because this is also going to count as my house project.
The layout of the project will look something like this:
Environmental impacts of Periods
-Here I would put something about the waste caused by menstrual products, and what kind of waste they are.
-Then I would talk about the biohazardous effects of the old blood and the dangers of diseases such as toxic shock syndrome.
– a description of my setup at hamwil
-people’s reactions and what they seemed to think
-how much was earned and how many pads were sold; some final thoughts on the sale
-I would compare my results with the success of reusable pads in other places, and look at the success of products such as moon cups too.
-Any other final thoughts on the sale and how it went, as well as what this means for the future of menstrual products.
Hospital eTool: Healthcare Wide Hazards – (Lack of) Universal Precautions. (n.d.). Retrieved March 01, 2017, from https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/hospital/hazards/univprec/univ.html#OPIM
This describes bodily fluids that can spread disease, and says any bodily fluid containing blood may spread HIV and HBV.
Spinks, R. (2015, April 27). Disposable tampons aren’t sustainable, but do women want to talk about it? Retrieved March 01, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/apr/27/disposable-tampons-arent-sustainable-but-do-women-want-to-talk-about-it
This talks about how disposable tampons, which people who have periods use 11,000 of in their lifetime, are unsustainable and often contain dangerous chemicals that the manufacturers don’t have to disclose. It also talks about why we aren’t having a conversation about reusable options.
The Ecological Impact of Feminine Hygiene Products. (n.d.). Retrieved March 01, 2017, from https://rctom.hbs.org/submission/the-ecological-impact-of-feminine-hygiene-products/
This is a student’s blog post but it has a lot of useful links in the works cited.
Rastogi, N. (2010, March 16). What’s the environmental impact of my period? Retrieved March 01, 2017, from http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2010/03/greening_the_crimson_tide.html
This is where I started getting information, it didn’t provide much but it has some useful statistics.