How to have a Plastic Free Period

The plastic free movement is something that can affect us in everyday life, if you are concerned about plastic pollution then you should be aware of the volume of plastic that is used in conventional sanitary products. Many items that we associate with periods such as tampon applicators, sanitary pads and individual wrappers are made of or contain a high percentage of single use plastic. A vast number of these products will be flushed down the toilet and end up in the ocean, rivers and on our beaches or they will be put into the bin and end up in a landfill where they may take up to 500 years to break down.

The average female will experience her period every 21 to 35 days depending on her cycle. It is said that women will use up to 11,000 disposable, one-time-use menstrual products in their reproductive lifetime, with 70% of women reportedly flushing tampons down the toilet (London Assembly, 2019).

Many of us women are aware that sanitary products are wrapped in plastic, but what we may not know is that conventional products are made up of a whole host of plastics and other synthetic materials which prevents the product from biodegrading such as polypropylene, polyethylene and polyester. This is an immeasurable amount of plastic pollution considering how many products women use and how long they can remain in the environment for after use.

Conventional brands that do contain plastic can cause two main issues:

Plastic pollution:  As the plastics and chemicals take up to 500 years to biodegrade and leave microplastics behind and get consumed by wildlife.

Skin Irritations: The plastic can prevent the intimate skin from breathing naturally which in turn causes skin irritations such as itching, burning sensations and rashes.

HOW TO SWAP TO PLASTIC FREE SANITARY PRODUCTS:

1. Switch to organic and natural brands. When it comes to sanitary pads and panty liners these brands are focused on using sustainably sourced and vigorously audited materials such as organic cotton, they may also use materials such as bamboo and wood pulp. These natural materials allow the air to pass through the pad or liner more freely allowing your skin to breathe. Organ(y)c in particular is the only brand which is clinically proven to meet the needs of women suffering from skin irritations as their pads and liners are made with a 100% certified organic cotton woven top sheet to be gentle on the skin along with a 100% certified organic cotton absorbent core. Many other brands have an organic cotton top sheet and contain an absorbent core made from wood pulp or bamboo. Another plastic free factor is the protective back sheet and wings as this will more than likely have been replaced with a plant based plastic which is able to biodegrade.

 

2. Tampons also contain a lot of unseen plastic so swap to brands that offer organic cotton tampons as this will mean that they do not contain materials such as polypropylene which is often used in the string along with polyethylene as both are used in the security veil. Rayon (a synthetic ingredient which is derived from wood pulp and is then processed into an absorbent cellulose fibre) is also often found in conventional tampons, although it is said that it is safe to use many believe that the abrasive fibres from this material create micro abrasions in the vaginal walls which can make women more susceptible to infections.

It’s not just the tampon that contains plastic but the applicators too. Some brands now offer plant based compact applicator tampons which are made from 90% sugar cane and 10% plastic, a much more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic compact applicators. One other alternative is switching to cardboard applicator tampons such as those offered by Organ(y)c or you can go applicator free and opt for a digital tampon, however these are still wrapped in plastic for safety, but all you need to do is pop the wrapper in your recycling bin.

3. Try a period cup. This is the perfect alternative for women who want to cut back on traditional sanitary products as they can be reused for many years. Designed to collect menstrual blood rather than absorbing it and can be used whether your menstrual flow is light or heavy. They can be worn from 4-12 hours at a time throughout the day and night, once full simply remove and empty the menstrual blood, give it a clean and reinsert

Almost all period cups are made from medical grade silicone which doesn’t have the ability to biodegrade after its final use however Fair Squared have designed a period cup which is made from FSC 100% Fair natural latex (rubber) from Sri Lanka. Unlike many menstrual cups this one can biodegrade making it the environmentally friendly alternative.

 

Please ensure that you check with your doctor that it is safe to wear a period cup if you have the coil or IUD. Ensure not to misuse the period cup when removing from your body as this can cause possible prolapse.

 


THIS IS A GUEST FEATURE WRITTEN BY CHLOE CASE BRAND CO-ORDINATOR FOR ORGAN(Y)C AND FAIR SQUARED

You can find our Feminine Hygiene products here

Did you know that currently the UK government tax sanitary items at a rate of 5%! And yes this is less than the standard rate of 20% but some things such as postage stamps, cycle helmets, or financial and property transactions are exempt from VAT altogether! Thankfully the government have agreed that this will be coming to an end at the end of 2020 but until then we want to help.

All of our sanitary products, which include all our bleach free, organic cotton and biodegradable disposable items and our period cups are permanently discounted by 5% so we can cover this cost for you.

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