Take Plastic Out of Periods
In celebration of #plasticfreejuly, I wanted to share some of my favourite alternatives to disposable pads and tampons.
Many campaigners are working to take the plastic out of periods because disposable products are a potential health hazard, cause pollution of our beaches and oceans when thrown away and also cost us nearly £5,000 over our menstruating years.
I was surprised to discover that menstrual products are the fifth most common item found on European beaches. They are more prolific than single use coffee cups. Or that 2.5 million tampons are flushed down the loo every day, in the UK alone.
Apparently, switching to a reusable product can save up to 94% of spend on disposables.
Here’s some of my favourites:
THE MENSTRUAL CUP
I love my mooncup – I’ve had it for years and it’s effective, simple and easy to use. I've not had problems with leaking or discomfort and I've been using one for around 20 years. Check out Sophie Hellyer’s TED Talk where she gets her mooncup out on stage here (and also powerfully rifts on cutting out single use plastic).
I’ve also tried a FairSquared menstrual cup, which is made with fairtrade rubber - I like that they come in four different sizes to accommodate light to super heavy flow. Again, easy to use and I gotta say I love collecting my blood in a little cup! Surprisingly pleasing! And great for the plants. There’s also Organicup (they offer a three month trial and refund if you don't get on with it) and TOTM.
THE REUSABLE PAD
These have become quite exciting items in recent years, made with a gorgeous array of fabrics and yummy textiles. I love the ones at Bloom and Nora, made from recycled plastic water bottles. Try also Honour Your Flow and Earthwise Girls. These can be stuck in a normal wash or soaked first to bring them out a bit whiter. I love the soft feel of a washable pad, after the harsh plastic feel of a normal one.
THE PERIOD PANTS
I’ve not tried these yet but have heard rave reviews – they can last for up to two years! And you can just stick them in the wash with a regular load (I soak my pads). Try brands like WUKA, ModiBodi, FLUX Undies and Cheeky Wipes. I'm going to try these out in the next couple of months so I'll let you know how effective they are!
There’s also menstrual sponges available made from natural unbleached sea sponges. I’ve tried these and I love the feel and the texture of them but they don’t work for my current heavy flow. Check out brands such as Jam Sponge and Sea Pearls.
City to Sea’s Plastic Free Period intiative is really exciting – they’ve reached 30,000 students with their Rethink Periods campagin.
The Environmenstrual campaign, run by the Women’s Environmental Network, has its own dedicated week in October and is training ambassadors to deliver education programmes in schools.
I'd love to hear from you. What do you use and why?