How To Reduce The Plastic Waste With Eco-Friendly Menstrual Products

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In this post we would like to break the taboo and talk about plastic-free feminine hygiene products.

There are several reasons that sound alarming related to menstrual products and that we feel all women should be conscious and have the right information about it. Moreover, today, there are several environmentally friendly menstrual products available such as reusable pads, reusable tampon applicators, period underwear and menstrual cups which can be really helpful, plastic-free and powerfully environmental compared to the conventional ones we used during most of our lives.

Some of the main reasons why all women should consider to start using plastic-free feminine hygiene products are:

  • Feminine hygiene companies aren’t required to uncover all of the ingredients in their menstrual products because the products aren’t recognised as “medical devices”. This is disturbing considering many of the common disposable feminine hygiene products contain synthetic materials including plastics, artificial fragrances, and toxic chemicals like phthalates, dioxins, and petrochemical additives.

 

  • In 2014 Women’s Voices for the Earth analysed several Always pads and found they contained traces of “styrene” and  “chloroethane” (a human carcinogen), chloromethane (a reproductive toxicant), chloroform, acetone (an irritant) and polyethylene plastic (the adhesive that’s used to make the pad stick to your underwear).

 

  • A regular woman uses 12,000 to 16,000 disposable feminine hygiene products in her lifetime. What is really shocking about that is that it can take up to 100 years or more for a plastic pad or applicator to break down.

 

The solution: There are all kinds of safe plastic-free options that are available in different shapes and sizes to suit your needs and match your comfort level. Some of these products may require a bit more preparation, but are overall a lot healthier and earth-friendly.

 

 

Remember, the main things to consider and be conscious about when exploring plastic-free menstrual products are:

  • What materials are used when making the menstrual product? Are they healthy for you?
  • What is the material used for the packaging?
  • How is the menstrual product used? What’s the comfort level of it?
  • How many years does the menstrual product last? What’s the cost over time?

The healthiest options for you and our planet are those made from organic and toxin-free materials, that have minimal packaging, that are not single-use and that have a longer lifespan. The top two and most popular products up-to-date you can use to start your plastic-free menstrual cycle are:

 

  1. REUSABLE COTTON PADS 

 

✔ Healthy: Pads are made from organic cotton cloth and flannel that is free from harmful additives.

✔ Earth-friendly: Pads are reusable and prevent tons of plastic waste. The natural materials are biodegradable and compostable at the end of their life. The packaging is made from 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard and is itself recyclable.

✔ Long lasting: Pads can be reused for up to five or more years.

✔ Comfortable: Cotton pads are so much softer than the plastic ones.

HOW TO WASH IT: After use, soak everything in cold water and baking soda to help prevent staining. Machine wash cold using natural soap or detergent, and either hang to dry or tumble dry low.

KEEP IN MIND: Adding an enzyme cleaner to the soaking water may help protect against staining.

 

2. REUSABLE MENSTRUAL CUPS

 

 

These menstrual cups are meant to replace regular tampons, but rather that absorbing your flow, they actually collect it in the cup. This can be helpful for those who may need to monitor their cycle. Rubber and silicone menstrual cups are gaining traction as an eco-alternative to conventional tampons.

✔ Healthy: They are made from body-safe medical grade silicone.

✔ Earth-friendly:  The cup is reusable, which prevents the accumulation of persistent waste from disposable menstrual products.

✔ Long lasting: This one product can last you up to ten or more years.

✔ Cost-effective: Because it lasts for 10 years, you just need to spend £20 and it will last for multiple years of use.

HOW TO USE IT: After washing your hands, press the ‘X’ sides to fold in half, then fold in half again so the rim makes a ‘C’ shape. Gently insert the cup (rim first) into the vagina. When it feels secure and comfortable, release and allow to open inside. These cups only need to be changed 2-4 times a day depending on your cycle. To remove the cup, gently pull on the stem and squeeze the base of the cup between your thumb and forefinger to break the seal. Empty the contents into the toilet bowl, rinse the cup and reinsert. To clean the cup, use mild, natural soap and water.

KEEP IN MIND: If you’re at a public washroom, simply empty the contents in the toilet bowl and use toilet paper to wipe the cup before reinserting or always bring a bottle of water with you and use it to clean the cup inside the toilet.

Additionally, for the International Women’s Day, an article published on The Independent, corroborated that in the UK, more than 137,700 girls have missed school in the last year because they couldn’t afford sanitary products, a survey has found. Of the 500 parents polled, a fifth said they have struggled to afford sanitary protection for their daughter, and one in 10 have been forced to send her to school without pads or tampons, knowing she needed them.

Therefore, Alhambra Women’s Network and Asian Mums Network is willing to back up this cause in the New Year by starting a campaign to support girls to have access to these products so they can have a safe hygiene as well as dignity.

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