Plastic Free Periods
It may come as a surprise to you to learn that many popular disposable sanitary products contain plastic. A whole LOT of plastic. In fact, some brands of disposable sanitary pads are made up of 90% plastic, which is about the same amount as four carrier bags. And while applicators for tampons are obviously made of plastic, did you know that some components of the tampon itself could be made of polyester?
It’s estimated that the average woman will use over 10,000 disposable menstrual products during her lifetime. Unfortunately, many women ignore the warnings that say these products aren’t meant to be flushed meaning that a huge amount of this waste is ending up in our waterways and oceans too.
Add to this the fact that many tampons and sanitary pads contain synthetic substances and chemicals which are being used in a very absorbent part of our body, and you start to wonder if there is a better alternative to deal with our monthly flow.
Thankfully there is. Nowadays there’s a huge range of different products available so there’s bound to be a healthier, safer, more environmentally friendly way to manage your period that suits you, no matter your preference.
This brilliant City To Sea video sums up the facts.
Menstrual cups are probably the most popular environmentally friendly option available. Lasting around 10 years, these soft but robust silicone cups are virtually leak-free and come in many different shapes and sizes. The Mooncup is probably the most well known but there are other brands available including the DivaCup, Organicup and the Rubycup, which donates a cup to a girl or woman without access to menstrual care products for every one purchased.
These pants are worn just like a regular pair of underwear but contain a magical, hidden absorbent area that can hold as much as four tampons worth of blood in one go. These are a great alternative if the idea of a menstrual cup makes you a bit nervous or for medical reasons they are not an option. Thinx & Wuka sell period underwear in lots of different shapes, sizes and colours.
Reusable sanitary pads
These washable sanitary pads are almost identical to their disposable counterparts but are often made of soft bamboo or cotton which means you don’t get that sweaty, sticky feeling. The natural fabrics are much more comfortable against your skin. Once used, cloth pads, as they are also known, are simply rinsed under cold water and then put in the wash with the rest of your clothing.
There are several brands selling these pads, including Honour Your Flow, Cheeky Wipes and Earthwise, who donate pads to orphaned girls in Kenya for every 3 sold. Etsy hosts a thriving homemade market.
If reusable really isn't your thing, you can still save the environment and yourself from a monthly dose of plastic. Natracare produce organic cotton, chlorine-free and biodegradable tampons, pads and liners.
With all the different options now available to women, there has never been a better time to make your period plastic-free.