The Sustainable Period
Our body is our WORLD. It’s turning without us even thinking. It’s wonderful, it’s amazing. But once a month we feel a bit cursed... but just because we feel a bit cursed doesn’t mean we have to curse our wonderful and amazing world and planet.
Did you know that one hundred BILLION period products are thrown away every single year? If you were to place them all in a straight line you would be able to circle the planet two hundred and fifty times. That’s a shocking figure and if we want to save our planet we’re going to need to start with somewhere a little closer to home.
In the UK alone we throw away nearly one and a half BILLION tampon applicators every single year. Many of these applicators make their way onto our beaches and into our oceans.
Plastic tampon applicators are a BIG part of the problem. They only take a few seconds to use but hundreds of year to degrade. Even the cardboard applicators are often coated in plastic.
A recent UK beach clean up found nine plastic tampon applicators for every kilometre of shoreline. Changing over to a reusable applicator saves twelve-thousand
unnecessary disposable applicators . And It’s not just plastic tampons that are clogging up our oceans, but pads too. The plastic lining on pads is equally as harmful to our planet.
Let’s change the way we see our monthly curse and see it as an amazing celebration of womanhood and help our little world out in more than one way.
Periods are a pain. We get hormonal, we break-out, we get cramps, we bleed, we get the picture… having them just is a pain in every sense of the word for all of us that have them but, that doesn’t mean that they should be for our planet, does it?
Since everyone has now sworn off plastic straws and bottles, its time to think about ways a little closer to home that we can make a difference in our day-to-day (or, monthly) lives. So, lets take action and take plastic out of our periods.
As we still don’t talk enough about periods (only recently starting to show blood in regular pad ads!) it makes it hard to know what the best sustainable options are so, hopefully this beginners guide can help a girl or two out.
Ditching the plastic doesn’t mean we need to ditch our old faithful sanitary pads, in fact, reusable pads can still be a great place to start on the eco journey. They are just as easy to use, more absorbent and you will be removing a lot of toxins from coming into contact with delicate areas. When you are done you pop them in a bag, take them home, give them a rinse and pop them in the wash, simple as that. Coming in at just a couple of quid for one, or whole starter sets for around £15, it seems like a no brainer considering the cost of one period usually comes in at over £10!
If you are unsure about changing your routine too drastically, whatever the reason, then a simple solution for you could be eco tampons. It almost seems as if there as many options for eco as there are plastic when it comes to tampons today, from organic cotton to biodegradable and some even coming with reusable applicators but above all they are free of the nasty chemicals, fibres and bleaches that are found in regular tampons so they must be worth a try.
Again prices here can range from a few pounds to up to £20, if you are getting anything reusable out it. A brand we love in particular is DAME.
A lot of people become concerned at the mention of a menstrual cup but the reality is that they are comfortable, safe, reusable and help to save money long term. The catch is that you need to initially spend some time getting used to putting the cup in and getting it out, doing this in the shower the first few times really helps though, and you just don’t worry if you get blood on your fingers.
They can be priced starting from around £10 to £25 and often come in two sizes, a smaller for people who haven’t had children or under 35 and a larger for post child birth and over 35s.
A favourite amongst those with a lighter/medium flow, panties can be a great alternative as we’re going to be wearing them anyway and depending on what suits you there are still a variety of thongs, briefs, sport, or just about anything you are used to – so there is no excuse! They can also be used to double up with cups or tampons for extra leak protection and can be perfect for sleeping in. Usually costing anywhere between £18 to £40 this isn’t the cheapest option but definitely a comfy one. Also, make sure to do your research with these, not all brands are suitable to wear without other products and only some brands offer swimwear options.
These are just four of the popular plastic free options and there is still work yet to be done to recognise the enormity of plastic pollution and what we can do to help, but a good place to begin is recognising that climate change is a feminist issue and therefore, we have the power to do something about it. Moving forward the best advice I can give here is keep to your budget, keep with what keeps you comfortable and don’t be afraid to try different options and combinations before you dismiss a plastic free period.