20th Govember 2019
By Holly Leslie
The first day of a period is one that most women dread. It may start unexpectedly, one day earlier than predicted or in the middle of maths class, but either way, the hormones start flying and you become paranoid that everyone could tell. In order to save yourself some embarrassment, you decide that asking a friend for a pad is no longer an option, but then you remember you have your reusable pad at the bottom of your bag. Problem solved!
No two women’s menstrual cycle are identical and each of us has a different way of managing our periods. On average, a woman uses 3-4 pads a day for 5-6 days a month. That’s at least 15 pads a month. . . for 12 months a year. . . for 39 years. That’s 7,020 pads per person. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that single-use period products account for around 200,000 tonnes of waste a year! Arguably, the worst fact about it all is the majority of this is single-use plastic.
Although the production of cotton is a water-intensive process, cotton provides optimal absorbency compared to other sustainable fabrics such as linen. Cotton can absorb up to 27 times its weight in liquid and does so due it’s hydrophilic, “water-loving”, properties. In addition, use of organic cotton ensures that no harmful pesticides or chemicals are used in manufacture of these pads. Therefore, investing in organic cotton sanitary products is less damaging to the environment.
Cotton is also naturally biodegradable. Biodegradation is the effective breakdown of a product, without the need for bad chemicals. Substances such as paper or cotton can be broken down into its natural ‘ingredients’ which then allows nature to re-use the building blocks. Cotton rags are reported to take between 1-5 months to degrade , whilst the smallest amount of plastic may take up to 450 years to degrade if it ever does. Although it is recommended that you replace your cotton pads every 75 washes (to ensure the leakproof layer remains intact), investing in a few pads at once will allow you to continue using your pads for 3-5 years (EcoFemme).
The best thing about investing in cotton pads is that they can be easily washed, rinsed and dried, between periods. They are also very comfortable, contain no harmful chemicals (like traditional pads) and can be folded up to be discrete without requiring plastic packaging. In case you’re wondering which brand to use, I would recommend eco-femme. This is not only because of their affordable price but also because they provide less-advantaged young girls with identical cotton pads, with every purchase, creating a #clothrevolution worldwide.
Come back tomorrow for hessian shopping bags!