Disposing period materials

Walking past this advertisement a few days ago, I smiled. IMG_2927I looked around to see if the women passing by were thinking the same thing I had in my head. There were about a dozen posters with similar message.

All about periods.

I thought to myself, ‘isn’t this wonderful that it’s no longer a shameful thing to have  posters talking about stuff that was once a taboo?’

Oh, well period is still a taboo in many countries of the world.

And in my dear ol’ Nigeria, it is not a taboo perse, not from where I am from. However, there are still so many myths around sanitary towel/pad disposal.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend few weeks a go. We were chatting about her new business idea which will include dealing with hundreds of young adults monthly.

Because sometimes, dreams do come true so we dreamt on. So I reminded her that it is important to include toilet in the building plan from the onset. And the need to have a borehole as she will need uninterrupted water supply.

‘And please separate toilet by gender so you can provide bucket for ladies for their used sanitary pad disposal as need will arise.

This is where she had a fit of laughter on me.

“No way will I supply any sanitary disposal bucket” “The whole town will probably lay a siege on me!”

“They’d say I am collecting their periods for ritual”

“Have you forgotten…?”

She continues to remind me of many stories that our people tell about periods and rituals. Most people are aware that was not true that anyone uses used sanitary pads for rituals but we repeat the same story anyways so younger generation are paranoid and go extreme length to make sure their used pads aren’t used for ritual.

My understanding of the myth surrounding period was that period is seen as unhygienic bodily fluid that women need to be ashamed of, therefore we must keep it secret and not talk about it.

As nature would have it, this is one thing that we don’t have total control over, most healthy women will go through the same process, every month – finding better, cleaner and dignified ways of dealing with that time of the month is welcome in my book.

Below is the comment from nairaland on sanitary pad disposal:

“For me i find it safe to burn sanitary pads, people do scavenge for used pads in refuse dumps for ritual purposes, its either u flush the tissue part of the pad or u burn it,.. Better safe than sorry!”

Not too surprising that a few people burn their sanitary pad every month. This particular lady prefers to be ‘safe than sorry’ One wonders – safe from what or whom?

Another lady from the same thread says she rinses her disposable sanitary pad before she disposed of it – this is all to make sure that juju man would not squeeze the period out for his next potion.

I am grateful for the enlightenment. It is interesting to read some of the comments and to learn that people are terrified of what they can not point their finger to.

Knowing how myths of the unknown can lay heavily in minds, for those who are terrified of the ritual man/woman getting hold of their used sanitary pads, why not try menstrual cupit will need getting used to but by far the most appropriate for our clime.

Alternatively, thinx or similar products.

Voila! no more monthly anxiety of the ritual man. 

12 thoughts on “Disposing period materials

  1. Very funny. Once, in secondary school, my class teacher, who had watched a movie called all of us girls in the class together, advising us on how to properly dispose of our sanitary pads because she watched a movie where it was used for rituals.
    I used to flush mine until it caused a blockage. I don’t mind tossing it outside though. If those rituals worked, i doubt Nigerians would still be so poor.
    But still, better safe than sorry. My 2 kobo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have heard that the warning about sanitary pads been used for ritual is a way of getting a young girl to be hygienic during menstruation…i mean properly disposing sanitary pads instead of just throwing it around. In any case you can’t get me to burn mine. I find that absurd and irritating so i just wrap properly in a paper and bag and dispose in a dustbin. However i don’t like disposing my sanitary in dustbins or bathroom buckets order than the one in my home. Again i say from an African perspective experience has thought some people the lesson of been more careful but that does not mean one should now live in fear. Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ‘Bisi.

      Agree about the idea behind the myth.

      I suppose what is causing confusion is that the world is moving on leaving Naija behind. If the idea was indeed so we could be hygienic and to be careful not to soil ourselves during period, which might irritate others, I would have expected the government to not allow disposable sanitary pads into the country until citizens area educated that it is totally okay to wrap up used pad and dispose it in household bins.

      The fact that people are afraid of not throwing it in public bins says a lot about the society – why would anyone throw intimate waste in public place to begin with?

      It comes back to the need for decent public toilets, I suppose this should be women’s own project 🙂


  3. We remain in perpetual shackles of the things we are afraid to discuss. It is the duty of a writer to discuss such things and set us free. Thank you Folakemi for this demystifying piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Folakemi,

    After seven decades of life, I keep on learning new information on the debased level to which our younger people have descended, perhaps in their pursuit of rich Nigerians, most of which wealth is illegally acquired. I concluded it must have to do with wealth acquisition because its mad pursuit in this era is of astounding proportions and depraved depths.

    I forwarded your post to my spouse who intoned: iyen ma wa buru, o – this is despicable. Neither of us had ever heard nor read of anything like such insanity, and for the benefit of your readers, my spouse is city born and bred but I am an out-and-out country lady born and bred in Yoruba’s hinterland of Ekiti/Ondo States.

    Where are we headed when UI/Harvard/Cambridge … educated next generation kids are raised by super-achieving and high-flying parents soaked deep in evils that has no roots in the superstitious beliefs of the past?

    The worst beliefs of the past, I used to think, were the kidnapping for ritual murders supposedly to make money. These remain the worst but since a banker would not go hunting for a person to kill to “make it”, I guess the bankers, teachers, politicians … of Nigeria’s Medieval Age of the Information Age in their crave for depraved “success” and wealth must, of necessity come up with “CLEAN” way to murder for money whike maintaining “respectability”.

    My first shock of what I thought was far-out superstition was when a very educated – overseas top schools, for that matter – young lady had to sell her auto and told me – I’m not kidding – she had received ose dudu with which to thorouly cleaned the car so that she would get a good price!

    A million thanks for this which I’d have loved to share but my blog receives far more foreign viewers than Nigerians and it’s a shame I’d rather share with Nigerians; will,forward to as many addresses as I have on my eRolodex. Effecting change is the important thing a,d we are the ones who can make that happen.


    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 2 people

    1. I believe what you said about the lady washing her car with ose dudu (black soap). It is part of a bigger problem.

      What I have learnt over the years is that there is no limit to human wickedness/kindheartedness. Government’s job is meant to use collective wealth to research and expose evil people in order to enlighten citizens, and where appropriate punish perpetrators.

      To get people out of the miseries, we need intervention of government and NGOs to go underground to research all miracle performers, expose what they do behind doors, without that people will still believe in unbelievable stuff and worse continue to live in fear.

      Interestingly, many people in the village / small town don’t even believe that insanity about burning sanitary pads – they don’t have to as most use toilet paper or cotton cloth. And the city people are filled with monthly anxieties – what a turn of event!

      Thank you so much Mrs Adenle, I do appreciate your contribution here, I wish many more of our mothers can take interest in using social media to enlighten.

      Liked by 1 person

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