Most of us have grown accustomed to the traditional ways of managing our monthly period with single use pads and tampons.
In recent years, eco companies have been creating menstrual cups which are safe for the environment; innovations for modern and discreet alternatives to the period protection options that we have known all our lives (and what our Mums and Aunties used!), and we at One Little Company are quite excited about these healthier options!
Perhaps it is now the time to think about the impact our periods have on the environment than ever before. Today, there are a few environmentally friendly period products available such as reusable pads and menstrual cups.
It is estimated that an individual woman goes through approximately 11,000 disposable pads (including) and/or tampons in a lifetime.
Multiply that number by every woman on this planet (in developed countries) and that equals a substantial amount of waste.
While the actual disposed period products contribute largely to the problem, we should also take the life cycle of the products into consideration.
First of all, we have the raw material extraction, which involves the production of cotton (a very water intensive process; cotton is considered the world’s “thirstiest crop,” requiring six pints of water to grow just one little bud) and most disposable products actually use non-organic cotton, which has been saturated in pesticides and insecticides. Yuk!
Secondly, most pads contain polyethylene plastic (the adhesive that’s used to make the pad stick to your pants), which is an environmentally harmful pollutant.
Most tampons contain chemicals such as dioxin, chlorine and rayon. And worst, when the product eventually sit in landfill; these chemicals get soaked up by the earth and are released as pollution into the ground’s water and air. And we put these things into our bodies?!
Tampons, pads and panty liners along with their packaging and individual plastic wrapping generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year. (The average user throws away an astonishing 125 to 150kg of tampons, pads and applicators in their lifetime.) Pads are actually around 90% plastic! That doesn’t leave much space for your lady bits to breath either!
As you know form reading other articles on our blog; plastic waste ends up in landfill or, worse in the oceans (sea), rivers and on our beaches. For example; In 2010, a UK beach clean found an average of 23 sanitary pads and 9 tampon applicators per kilometre of British coastline.
It’s staggering to think that the time it takes for a tampon or pad to degrade in a landfill is actually centuries longer than the lifespan of the individual who used it!
In the UK, two billion period products are flushed down the toilet a year (though we know that you aren’t supposed to do this and are taught as a young women not to anyhow…) … which is responsible for 75% of all cases of blocked drains.
The above however results in repair and removal costs of £14 billion each year. Along with cotton buds, wipes and applicators these make up 7.3 % of unnecessary items flushed down the toilet in the UK.
Did you know that a year’s worth of disposable period products leave a carbon footprint of 5.3 kg CO2 equivalents?
Unlike disposable period products, our Hypoallergenic Lamazuna Menstrual Cup is reusable for years and it has a minimal impact on the environment compared to tampons.
So are menstrual cups as environmentally friendly as claimed?
According to Dr Michael Brook, a silicone expert at McMaster University, menstrual cups are in fact a greener alternative. Medical Silicone is a pretty green ingredient. The material is derived from silica, a type of sand, and as it degrades, it will slowly go back to its original state; the second most abundant mineral in the Earth’s crust and one that isn’t hazardous to the environment.
That’s if you ever stop using it as it should have a lifespan of 10 years! Think of the cash you’ll save too!
Reusable Menstrual Pads will also work in the same sort of way. Ours have a lovely bamboo fleece core, and a soft cotton jersey top. We are sure that you’ll be suitably impressed.