Health

A Period Made Of Plastic

Women are changing the way that they bleed. A few years ago disposable tampons and pads were the norm, but now in the diabolical year of 2020 more and more women are choosing to make the switch from disposables to reusables- cloth sanitary pads, menstrual cups and more. And it feels AWESOME! After all, in a year where we fought over toilet paper, it makes sense to find a reusable alternative to menstrual products so you don’t have to cat fight Alice from next door. Blood could be shed in the aisles of ASDA… if it wasn’t already. *period joke*

Why you don’t want to use disposables

  • 100 billion menstrual products are thrown away every year. Most of which contain plastic. This amount of menstrual products would circle our planet 250 times!* That’s a lot of bloody women.
  • Each item takes 500 years to degrade. Because they cannot be recycled they end up in the landfill and our oceans. * To put this into perspective: If Catherine of Aragon used Tampax, that applicator would still be on this Earth today.
  • The average woman uses 11,000 menstrual products during her reproductive lifetime. This creates 200,000 tonnes of waste PER YEAR!**
  • All menstrual products contain plastics- pads are made of 90% plastic!**
  • Many disposable pads and tampons contain bleaches, dyes, and cotton that has been sprayed with pesticides. Pesticides up your hoohar, sounds so … erm… clean?
  • Tampons absorb ALL moisture from your vagina, even the useful ‘stuff’ that you need. This can cause irritation, infects and even lots of tiny cuts. They also leave you as dry as a nun’s ****.
  • They cost you money… just to have a natural bodily function! Just wait till we get taxed on them. Oh, wait.

Plastic Free Period

Think about the most common menstrual products available to buy in the supermarkets. I guarantee that every one of these items contains plastic. Every bit of plastic that you buy in your life shall still be sat in landfill when your great-great grandchildren are born. That is a scary thought. You’ll be dead and they will still be dealing with your waste. That’s if the Earth is still around and hasn’t combusted by then.

There has suddenly been a surge with the number of families choosing to live plastic/waste free. How awesome is that?! We know that plastic is ruining the planet, and people now realise that they can make simple switches in their daily lives which make a huge positive impact. Making the switch to non-applicator tampons or using tampons that come with a cardboard applicator can reduce plastic waste but sadly these tampons still do contain plastic in some form.

Let us look at a pack of Tampax Compak Regular applicator tampons & Always Pads

What is made of plastic in this tampon?

https://optiphar.com/en/online-pharmacy/tampax-compak-regular

The applicator (2 parts)

Wrapper

The thin fabric around the absorbent core- Polyester (that’s fabric plastic btw) and polypropylene.

String- That’s the bit you use to pull the tampon out. That’s also made of Polyester and polypropylene. Polypropylene is a thermoplastic Polymer- whatever that is?! :/

Thread- Used to attach the thread to the core. That is made of cotton wrapped polyester.

What is made of plastic in this Always Ultra Pad?

Wrapper for the main pack

Wrapper for the individual pad

Top sheet- Polyolefins (this is another name for Thermo Plastic)

Core- Absorbant wood cellulose, absorbent gel, rayon or polyester. Eugh MORE polyester.

Back sheet- Those ole’ Polyolefins… again.

Now, all of these products have been listed as safe by the FDA. They should not cause YOU any harm. They’re not great and they aren’t natural but they are not going to kill you. But they certainly are not good for the planet.

https://www.aurecongroup.com/about/sustainability-aurecon/sustainability-stories/caring-beaches-around-the-world

Plastic, plastic, plastic everywhere. The method of making these products, shipping them to stores, the amount of waste created, carbon footprints created, and the fact that many of these products shall end up littering our beautiful seas, rivers and countryside. Periods are natural, but destroying the Earth certainly isn’t.

Now, don’t panic ladies. I am not about to ask you to bleed free… I may be a radical but I’m not THAT radical.

Why Switch to Cloth Sanitary Protection (CSP) Or A Menstrual Cup?

  • Save a fortune! A few pads or a menstrual cup may cost more than a pack of disposables, but they will last you for years and years! Saving you lots of money in the long run. The initial cost puts many women off, but after just a couple of months you will be quid’s in.
  • No nasty plastic! We are aiming to reduce the amount of plastic in our lives- and so should you. Plastic in our homes doesn’t seem as extreme as putting plastic UP our vaginas, but we still do it. That’s weird, right?
  • No cuts! Tampons cause tiny cuts in the vagina, CSP and cups don’t. Reducing your risk of infections, soreness and irritation. Plus they wont remove ALL moisture. Just blood. Your vagina needs the good stuff, removing it all will cause irritation.
  • Longer wear! A Tampax tampon can be worn for 8hrs, but a menstrual cup lasts for 12 hours. Great for long days out and at work. The cup will hold way more than the typical woman bleeds in 12 hours, so you don’t need to worry about overflow. You’re a beautiful goddess, not a garden hose.
  • Quiet! Next time you’re in a public toilet you won’t have to worry about those plastic wrappers making an embarrassing rustling sound. Because a cup can last 12 hours you probably won’t even need to change it anyway.
  • No more bulky packs of pads and tampons filling your bathroom. P=Also perfect if you have toddlers who like to empty a box of Tampax and proudly present them to your visitors.
  • Less waste in our oceans!

My Favourite Alternatives

I am a huge fan of CSP and I have a large fluffy pile of pads and liners. My favourite pads have to be those from a company called Cheeky Mamma. Cheeky Mamma have a large selection of pads to choose from; such has Postpartum pads, heavy, moderate and light pads. I love their post-partum pads for recovery time after childbirth, as they hold lots and are super soft and fluffy on delicate bruised parts! Also, they look way prettier. Who said sanitary pads can’t be cute as fuck?!

I also love the Enna Cycle cup. This is a new cup on the scene and one that I hadn’t come across until quite recently. The cup is really soft, much softer than my other favourite cup- the Moon Cup and has a few unique features that make it ideal for women exploring menstrual cups for the 1st time.

The Enna Cycle Cup is made from medical grade silicone, that is long lasting and is better for you and the environment. The cup also comes with an applicator and a silicone string to help with removal! I unique design on a menstrual cup. These features work really well together and make insertion and removal super easy. Lasting up to 10 years, this cups will save you a huge amount of money and dramatically reduce your effect on the environment. You can of course insert the cup without the applicator. I tried both ways, and personally preferred without using the applicator.

Please make a good choice for our future and try using reusables! They aren’t messy, complicated or painful. I am always happy to answer any questions that you may have.

*Facts supplied by D by Dame

** Facts sourced from wen.org.uk

I was sent an Enna Cycle kit for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

This is a revised version on this post published May 2018.

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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