This week we are talking periods. Now, even if you are not someone that has them, chances are pretty high you know someone that does. A wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, after all, there are about 1.9 billion of us in the menstruating phase of our lives - so there is information that is important for you too....
Periods are a very personal thing and so is what we chose to use to manage it. As such it can be one of the hardest ‘habits’ to change. What you use you may have been using since your very first period, or you may have experimented a bit but have stuck with what you felt has worked for you for years now, because we want to be able to get on with our lives and so we place our trust in what works. Fair enough, there is little worse than being let down by your protection and in our very busy lives do we really have time to be messing around with something that is working?
Well, for what it’s worth, I think that is important that we make the time. Because as with most of this ‘eco stuff’ it is not just about what works for us. Everything we do has a knock on effect, even what we choose to use for our periods.
Here are a few things about most sanitary wear that may shock you....
- A woman uses around 11,000 pads or tampons in her lifetime
- Most sanitary pads are made of 90% plastic (90%!!!)
- In fact, one pack of sanitary pads contains the same amount of plastic as 4 carrier bags.
- 27,938 used tampons and applicators are collected on our worlds beaches in a single day
- 1.5 billion Items of sanitary protection are flushed every year in the UK Alone!
- Cotton is the world’s most heavily pesticide sprayed crop, causing problems for local environments, water ways and the health of farmers.
This statistics shocked me. Especially as, it is of course avoidable, it absolutely does NOT HAVE to be this way! There are perfectly viable alternatives, which solve all of these problems.
If you are shying away from this, I get it, I absolutely understand, this is one of the changes that actually took me, personally, the longest to make. But if you want to make a conscious choice to help the environment, this is one of the most effective areas to start. Just look again at those stats and think of what a difference it would make. 11,000! If you lined all those up at once, it would be a sight to behold, and you, YOU have the power to change that. Right now.
So I am going to start with the option that is probably most outside your comfort zone, but, that I feel, makes the biggest impact.
When I first heard about the idea of re-usable sanitary wear, I was quite frankly, horrified. Perhaps this is you too, or perhaps you are tutting and rolling your eyes at my naivety, and either of those is ok! I have come to learn that making these changes from our ‘usual’ habits is a journey, as is life in general. And unless we are very closed minded then our beliefs and opinions change and evolve as we go along. Sometimes it takes hearing about something a few times (or more!) for us to really notice it and start mulling it over, then it spends some time whirring around in the back ground of our minds until one day we decide we feel comfortable enough to investigate it further. So this was me, with Mooncups.
If you are already using them (or another brand) then great! You are already doing your planet, seas and body a wonderful service.
I did switch to these a few years ago and I wish I had done it sooner. Here are a few of the pros
- You only need 1 Mooncup, and it lasts years. It is, I believe one of the easiest ways to reduce not only the amount of waste we are responsible for, but also our overall footprint.
- In fact according the Mooncup website they estimate that through people using Mooncups to date, 1.7 billion fewer tampons and pads have ended up on beaches or in landfill.
- You can use your Mooncup from the lightest day of your period to your heaviest, because it is non absorbent so it won’t cause dryness on the light days and it holds 3 x more than a regular tampon so perfect for your heaviest days too.
- A surprising side-effect that I (and it seems many others) have noticed from using something that is non absorbent is less pain! My periods are less painful since using the Mooncup.
- Made from soft Medical grade silicone it is comfortable, you can’t actually feel it.
- It is Latex free and hypoallergenic, containing no dyes, perfumes, BPA, phthalates, plastic, bleaches or toxins, ideal if you have sensitive skin or allergies.
- Oh and it is also multi award winning and Vegan.
It is different, and it can take a few cycles to get it right, but it is worth it.
If the Mooncup is a stretch too far for you at the moment, fear not. You can still make a big difference with a small change.
Natracare make pads and tampons that look and feel just like those you probably use now, but with some big differences. All their products consist of renewable natural materials
- Certified organic cotton. – Better for you and the environment!
- Bio- plastic, made from plant starches
- Fluffed Wood Pulp (Which is much more soft and comfortable than it sounds!!)
All their products are biodegradable and can even be composted, if you wanted! (which is actually what Natracare recommends)
They are free from;
- Poly-acrylate super absorbents (SAPs) Plant based materials are highly effective in locking away menstrual fluid and the absence of synthetic materials ensures your skin is able to breathe and stay dry.
- Petroleum derivatives.
- Synthetic ingredients.
- Latex and
Natracare tampons also have no fibre loss. This is from their website –
“Try this test at home with most brands of tampons and you might notice the fibres coming off from the tampon after just a few minutes. This is because normally tampons are made with a mix of rayon and pesticide-sprayed cotton. Rayon fibres are short and straight and can easily slide apart from each other, shedding into the vagina during use.
Apart from the hygiene issues of fibres remaining in the vagina, there are also implications for bacterial colonisation which can contribute to vaginal infections. Natracare does not have an issue with fibre loss as our tampons, including the string, are made from only 100% organic cotton, a wavy-construction fibre that easily interlocks. “
They are also certified organic and vegan.
So there you go, who would have thought that your period could be such an eco issue! But this simple change is really something that we can personally KNOW is making a impact, making a difference, and not just to the environment, but to our own bodies and our bank balance too!
This infographic from Mooncup is a great way of summing it up.