Why Should I Generate More Waste Because I'm a Woman?

You might start to realise that we are all drowning in a sea of plastic. From sea creatures dying from ingesting plastics to overflowing bins filled with plastic packaging, it’s time to stop ignoring what’s happening to our environment.

Thailand is currently ranked 6th in the world as a contributor to ocean waste, dumping 150K - 410K tonnes of plastic waste into the ocean per year, according to the Thailand Environment Institute. This is the result of poor waste management systems, high plastic usage, and incorrect waste management on land. The leading type of plastic waste in the sea is bags (13%), straws (10%), and containers (8%). In fact, a survey in 2017 found that a Thai person uses 8 plastic bags per day, which equals to 203 billion per year. It’s no surprise plastic accounts for 12% of Thailand’s total waste, which is 1% higher than China, the country that has approximately 20 times more population than Thailand.

You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

As Greta Thunberg said during her speech in front of world leaders during the UN meeting, the generation most affected by this crisis is our children. They will never experience what we used to see and feel - the ambient temperature and rich diversity are all gone. Not coming to an end, but gone.

Many have altered their lifestyles by reducing plastic usage or opting for greener products and services. However, there is still very limited options for women in terms of female hygiene products, especially when retailers only offer a few brands. Although major brands that currently hold the market share feels and looks like cotton, they are actually made out of synthetic fibers and plastics that can take up to 800 years to disintegrate. These are made out of at least 90% plastics, which equals to almost 4 carrier bags. You might be long gone, but your pads will still be around.

On average, a woman has her period for 3-7 days a month, and she is likely to be on her period from 12 - 49 years old. This means the average woman will have her period 444 times, or roughly 2,220 days during her life - that’s 6 years altogether! According to this figure, a Thai woman will go through approximately 11,100 sanitary pads in her life. All of which will still be around to make a mountain of waste or floating in the ocean for centuries.

One option is the menstrual cups that are washable, but for Thai women who live in a society with cultural beliefs and values in hymen preservation, this is highly unacceptable. Anything that involves sticking something up your vagina is thought to damage your hymen - proof for unmarried women of their virginity. This is why tampons are not widely used and available in Thailand, let alone menstrual cups. Yes, this can be tackled by offering proper menstrual care and sex education in schools and advocating to destroy the period stigma and shaming. However, realistically, this will take years and countless battles with conservative stakeholders to achieve. Even when there is understanding and openness, it doesn’t mean people will change their habits and start using menstrual cups.

This is why we created Ira, through research and analysis of the Thai market, and taking into account the environmental situation, Ira offers the best option to tackle Thailand’s female hygiene product waste problem whilst staying relevant for consumers. Our sanitary pads are 100% organic and biodegradable. Our pads are free from chemicals and made of ... , meaning they are softer and safer for your vagina. The wrapper and back film are also bioplastics, which are made of corn starch. It takes 10-12 months to biodegrade and will do so in landfill.