Proper Disposal of Sanitary wear

By Joyce Chapungu

Through the ages women have used different forms of menstrual pads and they have been mentioned as early as the 10th century.

A sanitary tool can be defined as a Disposable menstrual pad. Cambridge Dictionary states that a pad is a piece of soft material worn by women to absord blood during her is a type of Hygiene product that is worn externally. These sanitary towels can be disposable and reusable.

Types of Sanitary Towels

These are the most common type used by women globally as they are widely found at the market. The product used to produce these pads makes it difficult to recycle and rarely done because it is costly and the non-biodegradable parts remain for thousands of years.


Because of moving times some people are now moving from disposable pads they have now resorted to washable or reusable cloth menstrual pads. These pads do not need to be disposed after use and they are much kinder to the Environment and they offer more economical alternative.

    Importance of Sanitary Towels:
  • Sanitary towels are designed with permanent bonded anti-microbial tech that kills bacteria and fungi
  • Controls inflammation or rushes during the menstrual cycle
  • Menstrual odour can be annoying thus the safe pad helps to get rid of the odour.

Sanitary wear is an essential part of women’s livelihood. Many women living in poverty use rags, newspaper or even mud on their menstrual periods which is both impractical and a health hazard thus sanitary wear plays a pivotal role in women’s lives.

Proper Disposal of Sanitary Towels

Sanitary waste disposal is becoming an increasing problem across the globe as the plastic used in disposable sanitary towels is not-biodegradable and can lead to health and environmental hazards. Most sanitary pads is made up of non-biodegradable.

Used sanitary pads can be breeding grounds for a lot of infectious diseases. It has become a big environmental challenge as people do not have proper education on sanitary disposal and are now resorting to dumping used sanitary towels at various dumping sites. Furthermore menstrual practises still face many social cultural and religious restrictions which are a big barrier in the path of health and waste management.

Disposal of sanitary towels vary from country to country due to personal preferences, economic status, availability of resources and cultural traditions.

In India there is no concrete laws in place for menstrual waste management it is treated as a reject waste.

    Steps on how to dispose sanitary towels:
  • Make sure you wrap the used sanitary towel in a waste bag so that it does not open.
  • There should be a non-biodegradable waste bin
  • The waste is then taken to producing companies for incineration at 800 degrees. The bio degradable waste should processed, treated and disposed of through composting or bio-methanation within the premises as far as possible preferably by producing companies.
Recommendations on Proper disposal of sanitary towels

Environmental impact caused by sanitary waste is one of the most discussed today with today’s plastic manufacturing industry manufactures, disposable sanitary pad requires about 500-800 years to decompose.

  • Incineration has been proposed as the best way there are also a risk as it is expensive as the cost of scientifically-managed incarnation firms in some countries is not possible.
  • People should now adopt the use of reusable towels, menstrual cups, sanitary panties that are washable and are cost effective.

Joyce wrote this article for Sanitary Aid Zimbabwe. She is a communications officer at the Environment Management Agency.