which respects your body, the environment and your wallet!
Society still considers menstruation a taboo despite a menstrual cycle being the sign of a woman's healthy body.
Although bought out of necessity, we should not underestimate the ecological harmfulness and pollution that disposable pads, sanitary towels and tampons create. A woman uses an average of 11 THOUSAND tampons or pads in her lifetime, typically made of synthetic and non-biodegradable material from petrochemical origins, dangerous for the environment and our health.
Pads and tampons plastic layers promote bacteria proliferation and irritate delicate skin, while cotton layers, if not organic, contain pesticides and are often whitened with chlorine.
Photography by Oana Cristina
Classical internal and external hygiene products containing artificial fragrances (and often colours) and odour neutralisers are a stew of chemical substances which are linked to hormone disruption, cancer, birth defects, dryness and infertility.
All these, in addition to be harmful to our system, are "eco-monsters" which end up in a landfill or the sea, contributing to our planet's pollution. If you are troubled by the idea that a sanitary pad takes hundreds of years to dispose of, besides the packaging's plastic, you may be interested in knowing about the widely available eco-friendly alternatives. Besides, for countries that still have a VAT tax on essential goods such as period pads, these offer valid and affordable alternatives.
Menstrual Cup The American inventor Leona Chalmers created a rubber menstrual cup in the 1930s, and today it is the most ecological and comfortable solution. A single cup can last years, and it does not alter your natural Ph thanks to its modern hypoallergenic silicone. It collects blood instead of sopping it up, avoiding any dryness (which regular internal tampons do by absorbing vaginal discharge). Several brands are available on the market, such as the most known Mooncup, Fleurcup, Divacup and more. The price is equivalent to 6 months of eco-UNfriendly disposable pads and tampons.
Using a menstrual cup becomes more comfortable with practice; it is easy to insert and emptied every 8 hours. You can wash it with water and neutral soap, and it is ready to re-use. At the end of each menstruation, it is good practice to sterilise it in hot boiling water for a few minutes and store it in its own bag or in a clean place until the following month.
Reusable Cloth Sanitary Towels Reusable cloth sanitary towels can be made of different fabrics (among cotton, fleece, flannel and bamboo) and are fully ecologic as you can rinse and reuse them each time. Soak them in cold water after use, prewash by hand and machine wash, with mild washing liquid of course. There are numerous sizes, colours and styles available.
Sea Sponge Menstrual Tampons To be used as internal tampons, sea sponge tampons can be rinsed and reused up to twelve months. During menstruations, you should replace them every 3 to 4 hours. They are dioxins free and synthetic fibres free; they do not cause vaginal dryness, and you should wash them in cold water after every usage and before inserting them.
At the end of your period, you should not disinfect them in boiling water as high temperatures would damage them, but simply sanitise them with natural soap or tea tree essential oil. They are ecologically sustainable because divers cut them with special hooks that leave enough of the sponge base for them to quickly regenerate when harvested.
Eco-friendly disposable pads They are eco-friendly when made with 100% organic cotton. Ingredients do not include Chlorine or other damaging substances; they are made with biodegradable plant fibres and do not have added perfumes.
They remain an option in case of emergency but to be used with parsimony, as they are still disposable. You can find eco-friendly disposable pads in natural products shops such as Wholefoods, Planet Organic and some pharmacies. The most common brand in the UK and Europe is Natracare.
Period-proof underwear Period-proof undies can hold up to 4 tampons worth, yet they look like regular underwear. They are a real revolution in the female world. It is a right, comfortable and long term solution, convenient compared to classic menstrual hygiene pads. They are washable and reusable, replacing disposable pads, sanitary towels, tampons and even menstrual cups.
They look like regular underwear and are certified with Oeko-Tex Standard 100, with no harmful ingredients. The only difference with everyday undies is that a layer absorbs and neutralises odour inside them.
You can wear them from 8 to 12 h; however, we recommend replacing them during the day to maintain intimate hygiene and freshness. If you are not at home, you can store them in a waterproof bag and rinse them once you are back. They come in all sizes available for all flows. From hipsters to thongs, from classic briefs to control briefs, period-proof undies are ecological, affordable, comfortable and elegant, to help women in style.
Article by Federica Rossetto Main photograph by Natracare