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As sustainability turns into a mainstream matter around the globe, with everybody from actors to activists to Instagram influencers speaking about it, interval care, as soon as once more, is commonly neglected within the bigger dialog. That’s a misplaced alternative, as a result of currently there was an explosion of curiosity, with sustainable interval care merchandise flooding the market — some higher than others.
Typically, interval merchandise create quite a lot of waste. They are single-use, and are made with plastic or different artificial and non-biodegradable supplies. Sanitary pads are the most commonly chosen product for menstrual hygiene, adopted intently by tampons. Estimates are that within the UK alone, roughly 200,000 tons of menstrual waste are generated yearly.
When it involves sustainable interval care merchandise, sadly, there’s a lack of know-how (and quite a lot of misinformation) on the market. As a client, probably the most simply accessible supply for info might be the manufacturers themselves, however greenwashing is rampant. For instance, in 2019 a university lab tested two pairs of Thinx, one of the most popular period panties, and detected the toxic substance PFAS.
So earlier than you resolve to go for a product or model, perform some research. Here are some issues you may look out for:
Natural supplies: Look for merchandise with minimal synthetics like plastics, which aren’t biodegradable and may final on earth for lots of of years. Microplastics in particular are harmful, each for the atmosphere and for human well being. If unavoidable, then search for ones that use GRS-certified recycled synthetics.
Non-Toxic: Make positive the merchandise don’t comprise toxins like phthalates, parabens, dioxins, or PFAS. These are oft-restricted substances that could possibly enter your body through your vagina, and as well as, a few of these chemical compounds are presumably carcinogenic or may have an effect on your hormonal well being and fertility. Some of those toxins are generally present in dyes and fragrances, so make sure that the model is utilizing non-toxic and/or plant-based ones, if any. Also, confirm that any claims are backed with certifications like GOTS or OEKO-TEX.
Sustainable packaging: The model needs to be utilizing sustainable packaging. Go for FSC-Certified paper over plastic, even when the plastic is recyclable. Make positive the paper is acid-free and is dyed utilizing non-toxic plant-based inks like soy. Another good possibility is compostable packaging, which has been licensed by BPI, TUV Austria, or DIN CERTO.
Ethical Production: The model needs to be clear about its provide chain. It ought to let you know precisely the place it’s sourcing its supplies from. It needs to be paying its staff a good wage, and have moral employee circumstances. Look out for honest labor certifications like SA8000 or Fair Trade USA.
Impact Work: There remains to be a stunning lack of entry to interval merchandise in low-income international locations. For instance, over 40% of menstruating girls in Bangladesh miss college as a result of they don’t have entry to enough interval merchandise, and as an alternative use supplies like outdated material. Furthermore, not all of those girls wash the material appropriately earlier than reusing. So it’s an enormous bonus should you select a model that’s addressing interval poverty or menstrual well being and training.
Luckily, there are extra choices than ever if you wish to change to extra sustainable merchandise which can be higher for each you and the atmosphere:
Period panties are reusable underwear that you may put on whereas in your interval, with out utilizing disposable merchandise like pads or tampons. Depending on how heavy your circulate is, you may put on one pair for as much as six hours earlier than washing and throw them within the machine with the remainder of your load — simply be certain that to rinse them with water as soon as earlier than you do. Most manufacturers could have underwear for various absorbency ranges primarily based in your circulate, and a quiz that helps you identify which pair is finest for you. Some folks like combining the panties with a liner or tampon on the heaviest day of their circulate, however in case you have the heavy-absorbency ones you shouldn’t have to. If taken care of correctly, one pair of interval panties can final for six months to 2 years. I’ve had mine for about six months, and so they’re nonetheless in nice situation.
Look for underwear made utilizing organic and natural materials similar to GOTS licensed natural cotton or TENCEL by Lenzing, or licensed 100% recycled synthetics like ECONYL. We did quite a lot of analysis, however sadly couldn’t discover any model that’s 100% synthetic-free. They all use a small quantity of polyester or spandex for stretch and/or within the lining. The quantity is minuscule in comparison with the plastic in pads or tampons with plastic applicators, notably for the reason that underwear can be utilized for years, but it surely means they aren’t recyclable or compostable — you’ll must throw them within the trash after they’re accomplished.
Also often called a interval cup, it’s usually produced from medical-grade silicone or latex, and is inserted into the vagina throughout your interval. Rather than absorbing the blood like most different merchandise, it collects it and must be emptied, rinsed, and reinserted each 6 to 12 hours, relying in your circulate. According to a number of manufacturers, one menstrual cup can final for as much as ten years.
Another mark of their favor is that you simply solely want one per interval cycle, versus pads and tampons, and even interval panties, which must be modified recurrently via your cycle. Only round 4% of menstrual cups available on the market are produced from thermoplastics in comparison with single-use pads that are often constructed of 35% plastic, and 6% for tampons. And cups are estimated to have lower than 1.5% of the environmental impact of disposable pads or tampons. It’s additionally value noting that interval cups are very straightforward to wash, and want much less water and cleaning soap to scrub than interval panties. This is particularly necessary should you’re residing in a drought-prone space, or don’t have quick access to wash, working water.
Unfortunately, since they’re made from silicone, menstrual cups will not be compostable, and even simply recyclable. However, there are particular providers via which you’ll recycle your cup, similar to via the DivaRecycles program in partnership with TerraCycle.
Reusable pads are comparable in idea to interval panties, eliminating the necessity for disposable pads. You connect them to your on a regular basis underwear with snaps that come on the pad, after which simply rinse, wash, and reuse. Look for ones made utilizing GOTS licensed cotton or different pure supplies. Like interval underwear, reusable pads even have a small quantity of artificial cloth within the building.
Organic pads and tampons
Various manufacturers make completely plant-based and synthetic-free single-use pads and tampons. According to period care brand TOM, supplied they’re 100% pure, they are often composted, or thrown within the bin and can decompose on the landfill. The concept of tossing used pads or tampons in your house compost bin could also be a bit icky at first, however so long as you wrap them correctly (in biodegradable wrapping which most merchandise will are available), you’ll be wonderful!
Brands That Make Eco-Friendly Period Products
We know that intervals are a really private expertise, so select the product that feels the perfect to you! To make issues just a little simpler, listed here are eight manufacturers we suggest.
In addition to interval panties, this model makes period-proof swimwear and activewear. Their leggings are produced from a mix of recycled nylon (78%) and spandex or elastane (22%), and may maintain as much as three tampons value of fluid. Modibodi additionally has period undies for your ultra-heavy days — they’re designed to carry as much as ten tampons value of fluid, the best of any model on this checklist. The different cloth is produced from 95% bamboo viscose and 5% spandex. Note: It’s primarily based in Australia, however has U.S. and UK websites for delivery too.
Barcelona-based Ruby Cup makes medical-grade silicone menstrual cups that may last as long as 10 years. Addressing interval poverty is on the core of its enterprise — with its Buy One, Give One program, every time it sells a cup, Ruby donates one to an individual with out entry. To date, Ruby Cup has donated over 100,000 cups to folks in 13 international locations. You can learn extra about its influence here.
Nat’v Basics is an Australian model that makes reusable interval panties (in addition to common underwear and bras). Its interval underwear are produced from 95% GOTS licensed natural cotton and 5% spandex. They can maintain three to 4 tampons’ value of fluid, making them an ideal selection for light-moderate days. If you might have a really heavy circulate, you may wish to mix these with a tampon or a interval cup in your heaviest day. It presently solely has one style (bikini reduce), which is out there in black.
Vancouver-based Aisle is without doubt one of the earliest entrants to the trade, and is a certified B Corporation. Aisle makes interval panties in varied kinds and colours from a mix of pure and artificial supplies, together with GOTS licensed natural cotton, GRS and OEKO-TEX licensed Tencel and recycled polyester, spandex, and polyurethane laminate, a waterproofing movie. The panties can maintain 4 tampons value of fluid, whereas the thong can maintain one, and most include a booster liner to your heavier days, which will get the panties as much as eight tampons’ value. It additionally sells reusable pads, which might maintain 4 tampons value of fluid, but it surely’s value noting that the core for these is produced from principally polyester.
Australia-based TOM Organic shares all of the sustainable interval care necessities: natural pads and tampons, menstrual cups, and interval panties. TOM Organic carries tampons and pads which can be 100% synthetic-free — they’re made with natural cotton, and are biodegradable and hypoallergenic. The tampon applicators are recyclable cardboard and plastic-free, and the pads have a bioplastic barrier again sheet. Its period panties are made principally from natural cotton, with a small quantity of elastane, polyurethane, and polyester. Its provide chain is kind of clear, which is an enormous plus.
Lilli Pads is a interval care model that makes natural pads and tampons. Its pads are made with GOTS licensed natural cotton and are ICEA certified. They’re biodegradable and hypoallergenic and are freed from dioxins, petroleum, and fragrances. The tampons are additionally produced from natural cotton and include a plastic-free cardboard applicator.
I’ve used these pads and liners myself and may vouch for them. Based in India this model additionally makes menstrual cups. The pads are 100% plant-based, together with the adhesive. They’re produced from natural corn and bamboo fibers, and may be composted — be certain that to wrap them within the cornstarch-based biodegradable movie that they arrive wrapped in. Just don’t flush them down the bathroom! They break down in about six months in a compost bin, and even should you throw them in along with your common trash they may decompose utterly inside two years. Some of Heyday’s many certifications embrace FSC, EcoCert, and ISO.
This UK-based model carries menstrual care merchandise to your whole cycle. In addition to interval panties and natural pads and tampons, it carries CBD oils for cramping and temper swings. The panties are made with 92% modal and eight% elastane, and may maintain two tampons value of fluid. The pads and tampons have a Soil Association Certification, are produced from GOTS licensed natural cotton, and are biodegradable.