Join the call for free, ecologically sustainable sanitary wear this World Environment Day and #BeatAirPollution
World Environment Day is 5 June. This year's theme is #BeatAirPollution, and aims to call on governments, industry, communities and individuals to take action to explore renewable energy and green technologies, and improve the air quality in cities and regions across the world.
UN Environment estimates that, worldwide, 7 million premature deaths are attributable to air pollution every year. Poor waste management is a key cause of air pollution, and a large part of this is due to burning of waste.
The Royal Institute of Stockholm conducted a Life Cycle Assessment of tampons, a popular Menstrual Hygiene Management option, and found that "a year’s worth of a typical feminine hygiene product leaves a carbon footprint of 5.3 kg CO2 equivalents." This impacts the environment through use of fossil fuel generated electricity used to manufacture sanitary wear, as well as through the use and processing of low-density polyethylene (LDPE), which is a thermoplastic and is used in tampon applicators and the plastic back-strip of sanitary towels.
The average commercial sanitary pad takes roughly 500-800 years to break down, and often end up in landfills or in water sources after being flushed down the toilet. These not only contribute to air pollution through the burning of landfills, but contribute to water pollution as well.
Urgent action is needed to combat the use of plastics in sanitary wear, as they are a common pollutant.