I like to think that I live quite ethically, I’m vegetarian and eat organic and local produce when I can. All of my beauty, shower and house cleaning products are green and plastic and cruelty free. My baby wears biodegradable nappies and I buy all the families clothes from ethical companies or second hand.
But one thing I’ve never thought about is the stuff that I use when on my period, I generally just go for the same brands of tampons or pads over and over at the supermarket without thinking that there might be alternatives that are better for me AND cheaper.
When looking to buy new ethical clothes people tend to go for organic cotton, but did you ever stop to think about whether the pads and tampons you are using are organic cotton?
70% of women in America use tampons, and over a lifetime that can be as many as 11,000 tampons or pads*, now that’s a lot of cotton. But what kind of cotton goes into these pads and tampons?
In California it is now illegal to feed the leaves, stems, and short fibers of cotton known as ‘gin trash’ to livestock, because of the concentrated levels of pesticide residue. Instead, this gin trash is used to make furniture, mattresses, tampons, swabs, and cotton balls.** So you are essential putting pesticides into your body. How awful is that!
Then there is the price, don’t even get me started on the Tampon Tax!
New research has revealed that British women spend as much as £18,450 on their periods over the course of their lifetime.*** That is absolutely insane!
Since tampons and disposable pads are so expensive and bad for you there must be an alternative right?
I am a relatively recent convert to the Mooncup menstrual cup and cloth pads, I was as I expect most people are, dubious at first, a cup that you have to empty? Big bulky, smelly cloth pads? But this isn’t the dark ages and cloth pads have come a long way since homemade rags pinned into victorian womens undergarments.
Available in bright cheerful colours and patterns as well as various sizes and absorbencies and made from natural and organic materials I only wish that I had found them sooner!
Although the initial outlay may seem like a lot overall it is a lot cheaper with the pads and cups lasting years rather than 1 use.
Another great item for your period is ‘period pads’ available from Thinx they act as both pant and pad, are supremely comfortable, come in different styles, colours and absorbencies and are my favourite thing ever!
Many cloth pad companies and Thinx work on a buy one, donate one scheme where for every purchase you make they provide a girl in the developing world with a pack of pads.
With Period poverty in the UK rising and many girls from low income families missing school because they cannot afford sanitary products**** some companies have now started to do the same here. Cloth pads and cups may be able to provide a solution to this problem if introduced to period education and invested in by the Government.
A bill is already going through in Scottish parliament making it a requirement for schools to provide pads and tampons and we hope that the UK government will follow suit.
For more information check out the following!
Posh & Co, Eco Dreams, Honour your Flow, Earthwise Girls, Feminine Wear, Luxury Moon and Lady Days Cloth Pads.