Did you know that conventional period products can contain plastic and synthetic chemicals that can be harmful to your health and the environment? Read on to find out how to have a plastic free period.
HEALTHY PLASTIC FREE PERIOD PRODUCTS
Choosing organic, and avoiding single-use plastic based products is an environmentally and health-friendly solution. Plus opting for reusables, such as menstrual cups or washable pads, will save money in the long term!
DISCOUNT CODES TO MAKE THE SWITCH
Buying plastic-free period products doesn’t need to empty your pocket! We’ve teamed up with brands in our Environmenstrual Coalition to make it easier for you to make the switch to healthy, eco-friendly menstrual products. Sign-up for discounts codes for menstrual cups, washable pads, period pants and menstrual pads and tampons from:
In the UK, women, girls and people who menstruate on average use over 11,000 disposable menstrual products in a lifetime. Tampons, pads and panty liners along with their packaging generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year, and they all contain plastic – in fact, pads can contain up to 90% plastic! The average user throws away on average an astonishing 200kg tampons, pads and applicators in their lifetime. Plastic waste ends up in landfill or, even worse, in seas, rivers and beaches.
Many conventional period products can contain a cocktail of harmful chemicals. Even though present in small amounts, repeated exposure from these products is a concern, especially when placed in or near such a super absorbent place as the vagina. Raw materials used to make period products can contain harmful residues from the bleaching process or from pesticides used on the cotton crops. Many women have reported adverse allergic reactions to the synthetic ingredients, endocrine disrupting chemicals and fragrances and plastics in disposable and some reusable menstrual products.
Period products are regulated under the General Product Safety Regulations, but not specifically mentioned in it. These regulations cover a vast array of consumer products from pens to shopping trolleys. Consumer pressure has resulted in certain products getting specific legislation such as tattoo inks and children’s toys but not period products, yet. Wen believes for this #EWOA we need to persuade legislators that our vaginas deserve the very safest products. We need specific legislation for period products.
Scents and sensitivity
Just as in cosmetics, fragrances can be comprised of allergens, sensitisers and phthalates (a class of chemicals that has been linked to hormone disruption), which can affect development and fertility. Research has shown that if the same levels of fragrance found in period products was found in personal care products, they would require mandatory labelling.
Flushing and disposal
The Marine Conservation Society found that shockingly around half of UK women flush tampons away. That means 1.5-2 billion menstrual items are flushed down Britain’s toilets each year, causing massive sewage and waterway issues such as the Whitechapel Fatberg.
A study by Plan International found that during lockdown 30% (3 in 10) girls aged 14-21yrs in the UK struggled to afford or access period products. The study also found that 12% of girls had to improvise menstrual wear due to affordability issues and 14% had to ask to borrow menstrual products from a friend.
Taboo or period shaming
This has a massive impact on the products we use and how we dispose of them – with the result that they can affect our health, end up in landfills or on our beaches. Changing social and cultural attitudes towards menstruation can have a major impact on our health and the environment and can open up conversations around sustainable period wear such as reusable menstrual products.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?
There are lots of alternatives to plastic based period products these days! These include menstrual cups, washable pads, period pants and even reusable tampon applicators. But you can get plastic free organic tampons and pads too.
Menstrual cups are inserted like a tampon, collect rather than absorb blood, and can be worn up to 12 hours depending on the brand and your flow.
Washable cloth pads are also reusable alternatives, with lots of brands available to choose from. These work similarly to a standard pad, and can be washed in the washing machine with your other laundry. Hang up to dry and reuse!
Period underwear comes in many styles and can even be bought in your local supermarket. Period pants can be worn all day and then put in with your normal laundry.
REUSABLE TAMPON APPLICATORS
Ditch the plastic applicators that are used for seconds but last forever. Swap to a reusable tampon applicator which can be rinsed and reused for up to 10 years.
REUSABLES NOT QUITE YOUR CUP OF TEA?
Maybe you’re just cup curious at the moment or puzzled by period pants, and still want to research if this is the right investment for you. In the meantime, there’s an amazing array of brands that make organic disposables with the added bonus of leaving out plastic and harsh chemicals helping the environment and your health. So you can still have plastic free periods!
Wondering where you can buy all these bloody awesome alternative products? Look no further than our retailer guide.
That’s fantastic. Find out how much money you are saving by completing the Period Periodic Table
There are loads of resources that can help you make the switch.
- Put A Cup In It to find the right cup for you.
- Read Seeing Red Briefing
- Bryony Farmer reviews to learn the in’s and out’s of hundreds of reusable period product brands.
- Signing up for an Environmenstrual Workshop with an Ambassador near you
- Explore different brand websites, you could start checking out Environmenstrual Coalition Partners
- Read over our Certifications and Product Composition Lists to find out more about ingredients in brands who are Environmenstrual Coalition members and what ethical certifications they hold!