by Grace Snape
Many of us stick with what we know when it comes to period products but have you done your research into what is really available on the market?
Are we talking about this openly with our friends or family, if not, why not? The more we talk about this the more educated we will all become. There is no need to ‘over share’ if you don’t want to but there is no harm in talking about products and sharing the information you might know.
Do you have an idea of how the products you use can impact the environment in the long run?
The most common products used are Tampons or Sanitary Pads, is this because they are convenient and available to buy in every shop, or do you use them because that’s just around when we were growing up. It's important to understand the advantages and disadvantages these items can have, not only on the environment but on your body.
There are different brands to buy and different sizes to choose from depending on your flow. They can be discretely carried around in your bag and last 4-6 hours. You can even swim with them!
Tampons (and sanitary pads) end up in landfills before they break down into microplastics that pollute oceans, rivers, and beaches and contaminate our water supply.
Another convenient item to buy in your local shop with many brands to pick from. They last as long as you are comfortable but do not cope well with hours of wear. They are wrapped in individual packaging and slim line to fit in any bag.
Like Tampons, they have a negative impact on our environment. Most of the chemicals from these pads reach the soil causing groundwater pollution and loss of soil fertility. Sanitary pads also have plastic in them which can disturb the balance of your natural body and cause health problems like Urinary Tract Infections.
Did you know you can buy reusable pads? They are made of cloth and have a positive impact on the environment due to lasting 3-5 years which makes them a more sustainable option. The upfront cost is more than your disposable pads, but of course disposable pads do not last more than a few hours, let alone 3-5 years.
There are lots of options to choose from on Amazon
Is this something you have heard of, or do you know someone who uses one? They are reusable and come in different sizes to support where you are in your cycle and dependant on flow. Yes, your initial cost is going to be more than buying a pack of tampons or sanitary pads but when you compare that to the length of time your menstrual cup lasts, the cost is more than justified.
They are better for the environment due to being reusable and not disposing any plastics or materials in the bin or the toilet, but they can bring some difficulties too. To start with, these can be difficult to insert or remove. Like anything, new things can be scary! But what if this became more convenient for you and more sustainable, wouldn’t you try it?
No this does not mean just wearing your day-to-day pants, these specially designed ones hold up to 2+ tampons worth of flow. They have a barrier to absorb and a barrier to prevent leaking. Lasting 2-5 years they are another great sustainable option. With different styles and absorbency levels, they can be worn both day and night.
To keep them clean you can hand wash them or put them in your washing machine, best to be used without fabric softener or bleach, much like sportswear. They can be great for daily use and might not sound as scary as trying something like a menstrual cup. Don't panic, they actually look like normal pants and come in some really nice styles.
There are many on the market but Marks & Spencer have some very reasonably prices ones