Reusable Period Products
Traditional period products contain a lot of plastic in their design and they contain a number of chemicals too. Also these products usually come wrapped in plastic. Period products will end up in landfill or worse, when incorrectly disposed of, in the sewer system and ultimately the oceans.
However, this does not have to be the case. There are a range of more sustainable options out there to suit people's different needs and requirements. These include - reusable cloth pads, menstrual cups, period pants and disposable cotton alternatives with biodegradable wrappers.
Some of these products such as a cup, cloth pads and period pants cost more as an initial investment but in the long term they can save you money and will last much longer. Also some people may prefer the convenience of disposable products therefore alternative disposable products may be a better option.
Personally, I have chosen to use cloth sanitary pads (CSP). I used cloth nappies for my daughters when they were babies (admittedly mainly with my first as it was much tougher with two children to keep up with the washing) so I was not opposed to dealing with the washing.
I have found the pads to be so much nicer to wear than disposables and much thinner than I thought they would be. They are comfortable and there is no rubbing. After use I fold and store them in a wet bag. When I am ready to wash them I use the cold rinse cycle first before then washing at 40 with just washing powder no fabric softener as this affects the absorbency. Sometimes I will use a little bit of stain remover but often sunlight will help get rid of any stains when drying on the washing line.
There is a huge selection of CSP available. I think the best option is a UK based maker who can be clear with you about the materials they are using. I bought a couple of single pads first from a few different brands to find what style I liked best. I have become a huge fan of the pads made by TCS Eco, a company based in Scotland. The pads are a great quality and there are so many options you can select from - length, width, shape, absorbency and fabric types and designs. I have slowly built up my selection of pads, buying a few every few months. I have liners, regular, heavy and night pads in a range of fabrics, lengths and styles. In making the swap this way it wasn't such a huge expense all at one time however it did take a little while for me to be able to have a disposable free period.
Generally, CSP are not completely plastic free due to some of the materials needed to make them absorbent and also for joining such as poppers any good maker will be clear and honest about this. However this has to be weighed against how long they will last. One TCS-Eco Pad has a minimum guarantee of 75 washes.
An added bonus I have found in using CSP is I seem to have fewer heavy days and not as much cramping. I think this is potentially down to the lack of chemicals in CSP.
I am so glad that I made this swap for the environmental and personal impacts.