Eco Femme co-founder Kathy shares her making the switch story…
When I moved to India to live in Auroville 18 years ago, one of the first things that I found myself having to contend with was how to dispose of my sanitary waste. In the west, there is at least the appearance that these products go “away” when tossed into a “sanitary bin”, but in India it was obvious this was an illusion. I felt like a fugitive lurking around in the bushes, looking for a place where I could dig a hole – usually in baked earth- to bury used pads and tampons. Throwing them in a bin for others to handle or burning these wet products with their plastic liners was even more unthinkable! Thus began my search for another way.
While visiting family in Australia I came across my first washable (i.e. re-usable) cloth pad in a small village shop. It was made of colourful soft flannel cotton, unbranded and obviously made with care by a local woman. I instinctively knew this was what I had been looking for and from the day of first use, I was converted. I would be lying if I said I was perfectly at ease with the idea of washing a blood stained pad but in fact the reality was better than imagined – after dropping the pad in a bucket of cold water to soak, most of the blood came out so washing took almost no time at all. It was surprisingly comfortable to wear and in an odd way it felt quite wholesome – in handling these pads, I felt a little more connected to my body. But what really clinched it was that I could actually make a difference through this small personal choice to re-use and not to add more waste to a choking planet – it felt satisfying to be harmless to the earth through this behaviour change. I was also delighted to be saving money!
Little did I realise that this switch to re-usables would go beyond the personal. So profound felt the positive impacts that it led to my own vocational decision to have cloth pads be part of my life work…leading ultimately to the birth of the Eco Femme project!