The sustainable period brands you need to know
29th April 2020
If sustainable periods weren’t already having a moment – they certainly are now. When the coronavirus crisis initially hit, tampons and sanitary pads were one of the hardest items to get hold of. There were even reports of people stockpiling female hygiene products and selling them on Ebay.
As with many aspects of the crisis, this shortage of traditional sanitary products led to people adapting their buying habits. Women have been encouraged to investigate new alternatives, many of which are reusable. But opting for a sustainable period not only removes the need for a monthly visit to the shops. – these products are also better for both you and the planet.
When it comes to sustainability, mainstream tampons and sanitary pads fall short. The majority of the materials used to create sanitary products aren’t biodegradable and along with their packaging, they create around 200,000 tonnes of waste per year.
Our oceans are possibly the biggest victims of period waste. 8% of all waste that enters water treatment works comes from period waste, including non-flushable items such as pantyliners. They can also end up on our coastlines – in 2010, a UK beach clean found an average of 23 sanitary pads and 9 tampon applicators per kilometre of British beaches.
But, a revolution is coming. A group of pioneering femcare companies are spearheading the movement for more safe and sustainable sanitary products and consumers are here for it. Organic tampon sales have soared by 70% in recent years and have certainly increased even more during the current crisis. If you’re on a mission to make you period more eco-friendly, here are the sustainable period brands you need to know.
One of the easiest ways to have a sustainable period is to start using reusable pads. Whilst this concept may seem a little archaic, new technologies and materials mean that this environmentally friendly option is both totally hygienic and easy to incorporate into your life. Brands such as Bloom and Nora come with a handy wash bag so you can throw them in your washing machine without a care. They also come in a variety of beautiful prints and colours – nothing says turning your back on period shame like a bold colour-clash. If you have a heavy flow or simply want a bit of added protection, go for a pad with wings. We love those from European brand Natissy.
If you’re more of a tampon girl, the femtech scene has exploded with options to make your period chemical-free. Many non-organic menstrual products are bleached with a process that creates the chemical dioxin. Dioxin is harmful to both our bodies (consistent exposure has shown to increase chances of infertility and skin disorders) and the environment and yet has been a worrying byproduct of tampon manufacturing for decades. Luckily, numerous new brands including Ohne, Freda and Dame are dedicated to delivering organic tampons straight to your door. Whilst these tampons are all chemical-free, some have harnessed the power of plants to make your period even easier to manage. London based start-up Daye have created a range of CBD infused tampons, which help ease period pain by sending the healing properties of the plant straight to the source – making your period greener in more ways than one!
It’s applicators, as well as tampons themselves, that are getting a sustainable makeover. Not only do Dame offer an organic-chemical free-tampons, but they’ve also created D, the world’s first reusable tampon applicator. The carbon-neutral, plastic-free applicators are self-sanitising and last for life. Plastic tampon applicators are one of the leading causes of sanitary waste, so this sleek innovation by Dame is a welcome addition to the sustainable period movement. Another gynaecological game changer comes in the form of the tampliner by Callaly. The Tampliner is a unique period product that combines an organic tampon with a mini-liner you wear between your labia, to reduce the risk of leaks. Callaly are also committed to reducing period waste: their virtual applicator removes the need for traditional applicators that can take centuries to decompose.
Modern menstrual cups
Menstrual cups were the original sanitary choice of the eco-conscious, but many women shied away from the idea of inserting something resembling an egg cup into their vaginas! However, cut to 2020 and education around menstrual cups has improved, as has their popularity. Thousands of women now turn to these cups each month and they have even found their way into the world of high street fashion. Last year Monki teamed up with Lunette to create a branded menstrual cup, complete with cute carry bag, As they hold more than 5 times the amount of liquid as traditional tampons, menstrual make a great option for people who have a heavier flow. Many brands come in a range of sizes, so you can find the best fit for you. Intimina even has a long, thin ‘ziggy cup’ which is perfect for those who want a slimmer fit.
Sustainable period knickers
One of the biggest femtech revolutions of recent years has to be period knickers. The freedom to simply pop on some pants and enjoy your period – pad and tampon free – is music to the ears of women everywhere. But we’re not talking about bulky, unflattering, disposable underwear. Oh no. Brands such as Thinx and Mod Bodi have achieved the seemingly impossible and made period knickers positively Instagrammable. These washable knickers are great way to reduce waste to practically zero and enjoy a comfortable, eco-friendly period. In the UK, new underwear brand BP3 creates knickers that protect from both menstrual blood and urine and help women of all ages make sustainable choices. Originally designed for women experiencing menopause-related incontinence, the VPL-free, pants have now garnered huge popularity amongst younger women who want protection when they’re on their periods.
Purchase to end period poverty
Shopping for sanitary wear consciously can not only have a positive impact on you – but society as a whole. Many brands work closely with organisations, such as Bloody Good Period, that help to reduce period poverty around the world and at home. But you can support causes directly in other ways. Hey Girls runs a ‘buy one, give one’ scheme across all their menstrual products – including reusable pads and organic tampons. They are on a mission to tackle period poverty. Every time you purchase from them they donate products to vulnerable girls in need, The coronavirus crisis has also seen many companies rally around to support key workers on the front line, with Ohne donating free tampons to all NHS workers!
What’s your favourite sustainable period brand? Let us know in the comments!