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?
Bad for you
Conventional sanitary wear has been found to contain non-organic cotton, plastic, fragrance/perfumes, deodorants, dyes and chlorine bleach. It usually comes wrapped in plastic too and can have plastic applicators.
- Non-organic cotton is farmed using toxic pesticides and insecticides.
- Plastic is a synthetic material that is linked to hormone disruption due to use of chemicals such as BPA.
- The 'absorbent' compounds added to sanitary products have been described as “highly toxic when inhaled or ingested, causing damage to your eyes, skin and lungs.”
Bad for the planet
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 down the toilet meaning that a huge amount of this waste is ending up in our waterways and oceans too.
It’s estimated that every single day in the UK about 700,000 panty liners, 2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million pads are flushed down the toilet (although they should not be!) – many of which block our sewer systems and escape into our rivers and seas…
Flushed plastics make up around 6.2% of beach litter in the UK and menstrual products are the fifth most common item found on European beaches.
Plastic waste poisons our planet and harms wildlife.
So add to this the fact that many tampons and sanitary pads contain synthetic substances (for fragrance) and chemicals (for absorbency and bleaching) 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.
Natural periods, natural protection
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, zero-waste option available. Lasting several years, they are virtually leak-free and come in many different shapes and sizes. The Mooncup and TOTM are just two of many cups now available. You may need to try a couple of brands or sizes to find the perfect one for you.
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. 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.
Organic disposable products
If reusable really isn't your thing, you can still save the environment and yourself from a monthly dose of plastic. TOTM produce organic cotton, chlorine-free and biodegradable tampons, pads and liners. Wrapped in paper and biodegradable materials too!
With all the different options now available to women, there has never been a better time to make your period plastic-free.