Why Switch To Reusable Menstrual Products

There has been a huge shift in the way women want to bleed. More and more women are discussing ditching the pads and tampons and choosing a greener, cheaper and healthier option: reusable.

I made the switch to reusable menstrual products around 3 years ago, and I have never looked back. It started when I decided to use cloth nappies and cloth baby wipes for my kids, then I switched to using cloth sanitary pads for myself. I then discovered the menstrual cup. There is a whole world of reusable options out there to think of!

Talking about periods is no longer a taboo subject. Most women bleed, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Period blood isn’t dirty, it’s not like other waste product such as poop! Choosing a reusable product isn’t dirty or unhygienic either. Luckily views are changing and many women are now choosing options that are way better for them.

Why switch to reusable?

Obviously there is the penny saving side to using a reusable menstrual product. According to the Huffington Post, a woman will spend around £18.5k on pads and tampons in her life. That is a lot of money. A set of cloth pads will set you back around £50, and will last you years and years if looked after properly. Yes, you will have to wash them, but a quick rinse and thrown in with the rest of your wash and the savings are still huge.

Cloth sanitary pads are also WAY comfier on your lady bits. Because cloth pads are made of a soft cotton, it’s like wearing a second layer in your knickers. Cloth pads are also great for post partum bleeding after having a baby. Your stitches won’t get caught, and the extra soft padding means less uncomfortable feelings down there.

Many disposable pads and tampons contain an array of chemicals, bleaches and perfumes (why you need a perfume for your vagina is beyond me), that can cause irritation, infections and even tiny CUTS inside of your vagina. A tampon absorbs all moisture that it comes into contact with, but a menstrual cup will only catch what it needs to and not take away the natural moisture that you need.

Many people are put off of reusable pads because they worry that they will be bulky. Most cloth pads are actually very slim, and not bulky at all… even the heavy duty pads (above) suitable for night, heavy bleeders and postpartum bleeding!

Ditching the disposables can also have a positive effect on your body during menstruation. Many women who made the switch to reusable alternatives found that their periods became lighter, less painful and didn’t last for as long. Many believe this is down to removing the chemicals from their underwear! It has been suggested that the cocktail of chemicals, bleaches and perfumes used in disposable pads and tampons can make period problems worse and prolonged.

And what about the planet? Many women flush tampons and even pads down the toilet, causing costly blockages and these used items often end up in the sea, rivers and streams causing hazards to wildlife. Pads are made from around 90% plastic (explains why they are sweaty and itchy!) and take years to decompose in landfill. Tampons, pads and liners cause around 200,000 tonnes of waste each YEAR. A gross thought.

How to use

Reusable pads are simply worn like a disposable pad, but instead of sticking into your knickers, the wings have poppers which just pop together to hold your pad in place. Reusable pads are super easy to wash. Just rinse in cold water, then throw in your normal wash. I let my pads air dry as I don’t own a tumble drier, but I know many women avoid the tumble drier anyway as the heat can damage their pads. Leaving your pads to dry in the sunshine can also remove stains!

There are lots of fab videos on YouTube that can help you fit your menstrual cup correctly. Just like using tampons for the first time, using a cup will take a little practise, but it’s worth while! Watch this video from Mooncup to see how a Mooncup works.

Your menstrual cup should be boiled before the first use and at the end of every period. Just boil in a pan for 5-7 minutes or you can use special sterilising solution (designed to sterilise babies bottles). During your period, simply remove your cup, pour away the contents and wipe with tissue or rinse in the sink before reinserting.

Would you consider using a reusable menstrual product? Maybe you already do and are a huge convert, like myself. Let me know in the comments below.

2 Big Decisions And The Environment

I honestly still sometimes feel that I am not yet an adult. Despite being 28 this year with 4 kids, a husband and a working household. I just want to play with Tamagotchi’s and read Jaqueline Wilson books.

Every adult has to make all sorts of decisions, and each one has an impact on something or someone, not least yourself. It is estimated that adult makes about 35,000 ‘remotely conscious’ decisions a day. That’s a lot of decisions. Ice-cream or Wispa bar? The extent to which they are conscious does not depend so much on how many hours sleep you got last night because your baby was crying, but more on whether the person making the decision is doing so with some self-awareness or whether it is subconscious. However, most of these decisions will not be life-changing.

If you are deciding whether to buy a chocolate bar on an impulse at a supermarket checkout, the worst that can happen is that you will take on a few calories. Sometimes though, the decisions that you have to make and live with are important. As a parent, your decisions could seriously affect your children so considering them carefully is imperative. This is especially true if you are concerned about the environment too. My readers would know by now how passionate I am about living a simple, eco-friendly and frugal life. It has become my dedication, to teach my children how to excel at this style of living.

In that case, things that would seem otherwise minor can take on a greater significance. While it is difficult to acknowledge, dropping litter can seriously hurt all sorts of creatures. A particularly unpleasant example is a whale which was found beached in Norway. It had 30 plastic bags in its stomach (warning: unpleasant images) which scientists said could have made it difficult to digest food as well as causing pain. Another very real reason to ditch plastic from our lives. I hate it when I see people dropping litter and it seriously bugs me when it’s kids that do it in front of their parents, when the parents then just ignore the issue. Sure, kids do silly things but it is our job as parents to teach them right from wrong.

Source: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/animal-victims-of-trash-plastic/
Source: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/animal-victims-of-trash-plastic/

Home Sweet Home…

Helping the environment is something that people need to do all the time and with regard to every decision, after all we only have this one planet, and whatever we do will affect our lives, our children’s lives and their kids to come. Some of the biggest decisions that a person makes are not exempt from this. If you are looking at new homes, you may be wondering how to go about making the most environmentally friendly decision. Well, you are already doing quite well. New homes are more energy efficient than homes built less recently. Many new properties will also already be fitted with things like double glazed windows and insulation which prevent heat from escaping, which necessitates you spend less on burning fuel, which means there is a lesser demand on the industry that retrieves those fuels from the earth, polluting it in the process. Not only that, you will save money too.

BUT, there are 2 sides to this. Many new homes are being built across the UK, most of us will know of a new development a mere stones-throw from our own homes. Eco-systems, homes for wildlife, nature spots, flood plains and our beautiful green-and-pleasant land is being replaced by concrete and rubble. Sadly it seems that more green space is being built on rather than brown sites, and many towns and villages are loosing their green doorstep right before their eyes.

I am passionate about helping people understand that their homes are the best place to start their journeys to save the planet. You can easily keep your home warm with some of my personal DIY tricks and home improvements don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Another alternative is to build or buy your own house that is specifically designed with the environment in mind. For instance, you can now get houses that are built from bales of straw, or which have a living wall. I would absolutely love to build my own home, and I’ve chatted with my dad in the past about building our own round-house, made from completely eco-friendly resources that have minimal impact on our environment, and being as close to zero waste as possible.

Dear Petrol Heads…

The car that you drive is another thing that has a big impact on the environment. The dichotomous decision between petrol and diesel (which research shows is the worse option) is not what we have to choose between anymore. While hybrid cars are still reasonably new, they are a much better option. Electric cars are not environmentally neutral since the production would have resulted in carbon being emitted, just as the delivery and sale of the car would necessitate the same. However, they are much better than their conventional predecessors. They may be a little more expensive and harder to keep (there are petrol stations all over but few charging points), but if you care about the environment, it is the right thing to do.

On a daily basis (several times a day in fact) I witness parents driving their children to school. Many of these parents only live a short walk from the school. I understand when these parents have to drop off the kids and go straight to work, but many just take the car to save a few minutes of walking and drive straight home again. Why not grab your scooter (oh c’mon, you know they’re not just for kids!) and scoot along together? Take the dog with you and get him out for a walk too. There are lots of fun ways you can get out of the car, save petrol costs and get fits and healthy too.

Look at car-shares online. Many people offer seat space for a chip-in to the petrol cost (and its often cheaper than the bus). Explore your options and you’ll be surprised at how much cash you can save (and have a guilt-free-plane-loving conscience too!