Searching for the alternative to plastic-wrapped sanitary products I have once again come to the conclusion that the smarter, nature-friendly way is to make things yourself and not to rely on the big boys such as American conglomerate Procter and Gamble, who make the lion share of sanitary products, to do your thinking for you. But there are store-bought alternatives if you’re not up to such radical measures as making your own pads!
Most of today’s big brand sanitary products contain a cocktail of chemicals and synthetic fibres like rayon, aluminium, alcohols, fragrance additives and undisclosed ingredients. Tampons and many types of pads and liners are individually wrapped in plastic. Tampon applicators are largely made from plastic or plastic-lined card and are making a special appearance on beaches all over the world! I read that on average woman use 12,000 tampons in their lifetime.
One readily available and nature-friendly range of disposable sanitary products is Natracare. Their products are made from organic and natural materials and are free from chlorine and plastic. Natracare is sold in many supermarkets and health food shops. I have been using this brand for years.
Before disposable sanitary products were available to us, cloth rags or knitted pads were the order of the day. My mother remembers using these as a young girl in the post war years. Reusable pads can be bought on the internet, such as these made from organic cotton: http://www.drapersorganiccotton.co.uk. My friend Anne makes reusable pads from soft and pretty looking material. They are beautifully sewn (see picture) and work very well. Anne says there are plenty of articles and demo videos on the internet with advice on purchasing materials, sewing the pads and how to launder them.
- Adequate sanitary ware is not accessible to a large number of women and young girls around the world, especially in war torn countries and refugees camps. This inspiring BBC article tells the story of one British woman’s heroic efforts to help just such women and girls: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34925238
- What’s in your pad or tampon: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/13/health/whats-in-your-pad-or-tampon/index.html
- What’s behind the label: http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/behind_the_label/268961/behind_the_labeltampons.html
- Organic and natural disposable sanitary ware: http://www.natracare.com/why-natracare/
- Certified organic reusable pads and liners: http://www.drapersorganiccotton.co.uk/
- Amy Nix on how to make sew reusable pads: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLXnTbi0_7c