Plastic Free Periods with Natracare
Author: Sandy Abram Date Posted:9 April 2019
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Plastic is everywhere, invading our lives in the most expected, and unexpected of places. We’re all now more aware of the plastic hiding in our coffee cups and of course we try our best to avoid using single use plastic shopping bags and water... Plastic is everywhere, invading our lives in the most expected, and unexpected of places. We’re all now more aware of the plastic hiding in our coffee cups and of course we try our best to avoid using single use plastic shopping bags and water...
Plastic is everywhere, invading our lives in the most expected, and unexpected of places. We’re all now more aware of the plastic hiding in our coffee cups and of course we try our best to avoid using single use plastic shopping bags and water bottles. But what about in our sanitary pads, tampons, panty liners and wipes? Surely they’re all free from plastic, right…?
Avoiding plastic completely is a tough task. It’s in our fridges, our TVs, our cars and even our bank cards. Even if we consciously quit using single use plastics, it’ll still pop up and surprise us when we least expect it.
Like during our period.
Most brands of pads, tampons and liners use plastic in their products, making us, normally conscious consumers, introduce plastics into our bathroom routines for at least a few days a month, every month.
Pads and liners are individually wrapped in plastic and have leakproof plastic backings and polymers which absorb liquid and “lock it away”. Tampons either come with plastic wrapping, a plastic applicator or both.
Some tampons even have a tiny piece of hidden plastic (a piece of microplastic already created and waiting to be flushed down the loo and end up in the ocean…) holding the string securely to the tampon. Much like the hidden plastic in a teabag, that holds the string to the bag.
Here at Wholesome Hub, we’re on a mission to make periods plastic free.
Reusable Menstrual Cups
There are many menstrual cups on the market. Often made from silicone, these cups are designed to be worn day and night, and emptied according to your flow. They’re reusable - all you need to do is rinse between wears and sterilise in boiling water at the start of each period.
But they can take some getting used to, and some women find them difficult to get on with at all. So if you prefer to stick to your standard pads, tampons and pantry liners what’s the answer to your plastic free period? Natracare!
The Natracare “Periods without Plastic” Campaign
We love everything that Natracare stand for. They’ve been campaigning for better periods since 1989 and have been producing planet friendly period products ever since.
Natracare period products are made from “renewable, biodegradable and certifiably compostable” materials, 100% of the time. That means organic cotton with absolutely no damaging chemical chlorine bleaches and dioxins, and crucially, zero plastic.
Which when you realise that the average pad alone is shockingly 90% plastic, is really going against the norm.
And that’s why we wholeheartedly support Natracare’s #PeriodPower message.
Natracare have uncovered some pretty sobering stats. The average packet of sanitary pads contains the same amount of plastic as four plastic shopping bags.
1.4 million pads, 2.5 million tampons (and their applicators) and 700,000 panty liners are used globally, every single day. The majority of which are flushed down the toilet into our sewers that already struggle to cope. It then pollutes our beaches and endangers wildlife.
If not, they’re put in the bin and simply end up in landfill, where the problem of plastic pollution is equally as bad, as the plastic will never completely break down.
When we consider these numbers, going plastic free on our periods really can have a huge impact.
So why have period products become so reliant on so much plastic anyway? Like with most things, it’s convenience…
The Convenience of Plastic, Even in Feminine Hygiene Products
We all lead busy lives, and (in an ideal world) our periods shouldn’t stop us from doing everything we need and want to. Choosing our favourite brand of pads or tampons is just like choosing our favourite brand of pasta or toothpaste. We simply buy the same products each month, and often don’t think twice about them.
We’re sold the dream that certain period products don’t allow you to leak, something that’s on the minds of so many women when we’re on our period. So we buy them, job done for another month.
But what if we all became more conscious consumers, in all areas of our lives? Why shouldn’t choosing plastic free period products be as simple as choosing cruelty free washing powder or carrying a reusable coffee cup? Why are we only just becoming aware of the amount of plastic in period products? Why don’t we have much choice when it comes to plastic free periods?
In the 1990’s TV advertising told women that we could all do whatever we wanted to on our period - even roller skating wearing pure white jeans. Nowadays, the message is more real - real blood not a blue coloured liquid, worldwide protests to abolish the tampon tax and period poverty - than pretending any woman alive would actively choose to wear skin tight white trousers on her period.
But we think the message should also be about being kinder to the environment, and ourselves, each month. After all, the eco-friendly conversation is everywhere now, and it includes our periods.
And take it from us, Natracare products work just as well as any other on the market.
Avoiding Plastic Doesn’t Just Benefit the Planet
Natracare products benefit our bodies too. They allow our delicate, intimate skin to breathe. Using such natural products is recommended by gynaecologists to help protect against skin allergies and help support women with conditions such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease.
Products containing plastics, chlorine bleaches, perfumes and polymer based absorbents can irritate sensitive skin and genito-urinary problems.
Also, many tampons, made with a mix of cotton and rayon, will shed tiny fibres whilst they’re inside the vagina. A build up of rayon fibres within the vagina can lead to hygiene issues, bacterial infections and toxic shock syndrome.
To get around this problem, do you know what many manufacturers do? Incredibly, they shrink wrap a layer of heat treated plastic called polypropylene over the tampon. This allows liquid in, and helps stop much (not all) of the shedding, but means that the tampon will never biodegrade. Those tampons you thought were just cotton wool are far from it.
Natracare tampons are made using long fibres of 100% organic cotton, do not shed and do not contain any plastic.
A Kinder Period
So next month, will you switch to a plastic free period? Will you talk to your girlfriends and urge them to do the same? Will you guide your daughters, nieces, pupils and other young girls to begin their menstruation journey in a kinder way?
Never flush pads, tampons, liners or wipes down the toilet, no matter how ‘flushable’ they may claim to be, and chose Natracare products. You have the power to make a difference - be the change you want to see. Period.