Can You Compost Sanitary Pads?
In her lifetime, the average woman uses approximately 17,000 sanitary products. By avoiding filling landfills with used sanitary products, you can reduce your carbon footprint and significantly save the environment.
Composting sanitary products is one way of ensuring a clean environment. However, the question lingers among many people, is it possible to compost sanitary products? The answer to this question is yes. You can compost sanitary pads and other period products using elementary steps.
What Does It Mean To Compost Sanitary Products?
Composting is reintroducing biodegradable products into the environment after using them. Most people know about composting things such as leftover foods, debris from the yard, old newspapers or used tea bags. Sanitary pads and tampons made with biodegradable cotton and plant cellulose materials are just as compostable as other items we use daily.
On the other hand, conventional sanitary products made with plastic and crude oil polymers are not biodegradable or compostable. Composting them would be as pointless and environmentally harmful as dumping a fair number of plastic bags in the ground.
How Can You Compost Sanitary Pads?
Before composting your used sanitary pads, confirm that the material used to make them is plant-based such as cotton, which is readily biodegradable. If you are not sure about the material, read the label on the package for a list of ingredients or inquire from the manufacturer.
Establish the proper conditions for composting by constructing a well-sealed trashcan that you will use to add your sanitary pads regularly. The best conditions for composting are damp and warm. Using an adequately enclosed trashcan or bin to avoid attracting vermin is also critical. Ensure that your compost contains a good mix of green and brown compost.
Organic green compost consists of vegetable peelings, grass cuttings, and other organic waste that decomposes more quickly than other types of organic compost. Fibrous materials such as paperboard, grass cuttings, and natural sanitary products are also part of brown compost. However, they decompose more slowly than green compost.
If possible, use a pair of scissors or your hands to break up the sanitary pads and liners before placing them in the compost bin to expedite the biodegradation. Many modern sanitary pads have a separate backing layer, which you can remove, and compost with the rest of the pieces.
When using a home compost bin, wait for 18-24 months for the complete breakdown of menstrual products to occur. Continue to use only compostable waste in your container, ensuring that it remains warm, moist, and well ventilated. Allowing for a more favorable breakdown into the soils building blocks ensures better plant growth in the end.
How Long Do Biodegradable Sanitary Pads Take To Compost?
Natural pads and other materials such as husk, paperboard, and wood belong to brown compost products. Compared to green waste such as grass and vegetable peelings, these materials take a little longer to decompose.
Biodegradable sanitary pads made of natural materials will decompose in approximately 12 months when placed in a compost pile. The decomposition process varies in speed depending on your compost bin’s moisture levels and temperature, and the materials used.
Pads cut up and separated will biodegrade much more quickly because the increased surface area and access for microbes to begin breaking down the materials will accelerate the process. For the most effective decomposition process, you should prepare your compost bin at least 15 months before you start using it.
Is It Safe To Compost Sanitary Pads?
Sanitary pads are safe and hygienic to compost, but only if you dispose of them properly. Given that it is entirely appropriate to compost old clothes made of cotton and other natural materials, there should be no reason why you should not compost sanitary pads made with biodegradable raw materials.
However, it would help if you were cautious because used pads may contain old menstrual blood, which may not be hygienic to handle. Menstrual fluids are a natural phenomenon that women have to go through without a choice.
The menstrual blood has some advantages, which is why it is advisable to compost your used biodegradable sanitary products. Even though the blood might look gross, it is a nutrient-rich source of nutrition.
Period blood contains high concentrations of sodium, calcium, phosphate, and iron, which are excellent natural fertilizers for a wide range of plants. If you have a traditional home compost bin, it is preferable to use your compost to grow crops and bolster drained soils rather than growing vegetables.
It is also advisable to use your sanitary pads compost on plants not intended for consumption in a traditional compost bin.
Why Are Biodegradable Sanitary Pads So Costly?
All pads must be reasonably priced, readily available, and simple to use and dispose of by users. Environmentally friendly sanitary brands labeled as 100 per cent natural or organic have become increasingly popular among the public. Many women are slowly ditching conventional period products for biodegradable ones because it gives them the feeling of being liable to the environment.
Biodegradable sanitary pads come in a state of the art packaging with high price tags that are out of reach for many consumers, especially those in developing countries. Biodegradable sanitary pads are expensive, which begs the questions:
- What is the true purpose of these environmentally friendly products if they are not also ecologically and socially friendly?
- Is this simply a marketing ploy to increase profits, or are these products indicative of a society dominated by elitists?
However, the cost of making biodegradable sanitary pads is not low, so the manufacturers charge more for them.
Composting sanitary pads is time-consuming and labor-intensive that many women have not yet adopted. However, with the introduction of biodegradable sanitary pads in place of conventional ones, many campaigns advise women on the benefits of composting.
Before you begin composting, ensure that the pad construction material is compostable. Being compostable makes it possible for the microbes to carry out their functions. It takes 90 to 180 days for the sanitary pads to disintegrate and decompose entirely in soil.