Thinking of trying out reusable sanitary pads for the sake of our environment? From someone who’s tried it themselves, read my thoughts on my sustainable period…
Let’s talk about something we’ve never discussed on my blog before… our periods. I don’t know why but, as a teenager, I always felt as though my period was a taboo topic. It was something that you shouldn’t really discuss in public, or something that should be hidden away, and was “disgusting”.
I have no idea why this was the case, especially considering I went to an all girl’s school. However, I guess it’s really a socially ingrained feeling. As a society, I think we still have a long way to go before these topics can be openly talked about, and I think it all begins with internet awareness…
So, in order to open up our minds and mouths to the topic, let’s start with period sustainability. To discover the facts and figures about period waste, and why it’s so important to make a change, you came to the right place. Here, I’ll be discussing my thoughts and experiences using reusable sanitary products for the first time, so read on for some encouraging feedback…
The Facts and Figures of Period Waste
Before we get started on what reusable sanitary pads are, where you can get them, and how I’ve been finding them, I think the facts are the best place to begin. By seeing the staggering figures behind our periods, our eyes can be opened to the effects we are inadvertently having on our environment. With that in mind, some key facts and figures about period waste in the UK are as follows:
- Every year, 4.3 billion menstrual products are thrown away.
- Despite warnings not to flush sanitary products, millions of tampons and panty liners are flushed down the toilet every single day.
- Tampons and pads are made using nasty plastics and chemicals which seep into our oceans, ground, and bodies.
- The average woman uses 11,000 sanitary products within her lifetime.
- Tampons take around 500 years to biodegrade, and even green tampons take around 5 years.
These are just a few of the staggering facts about the environmental impact our periods have. So, what can we do about it?
How My Thoughts on Reusable Sanitary Products Have Changed…
As previously mentioned, the taboo still surrounding our periods meant that I was always averse to using reusable sanitary products. That said, over the last couple of years, my mind has truly been opened up.
I think it’s mainly down to the recent importance we’ve placed on making sustainable choices. Our periods are something we, as women, have no control over, so I think that making different choices is the only way we can change our impact.
I also think it’s down to the recent discussions women are now having, via social media, about periods. Be it period poverty, menstrual cup horror stories, or the like, our minds are being widened, and I want to keep this going.
That’s why I’m writing about this, here today; not only to raise awareness for the options available, but to break the taboo further. Social media is what opened my mind up, and I think your mind can be changed too. This way, more women will get talking about the sustainable options they have, and maybe we can all start testing new ideas to recommend to our friends!
Why I Decided to Move Away From Pads and Tampons
There are a huge array of reasons why pads and tampons aren’t really the best option for your period. Some of the key reasons include:
- Cost: pads and tampons cost an arm and a leg; around £2 to £4 per pack. Say you’re consuming two packs every month, that’s between around £50 to £100 each year per period! Instead, I spent under £26 on two packs of reusable sanitary pads, which can be used again and again, for years to come.
- Environmental benefits: as we’ve seen, our periods have a major impact on our environment. That said, women really have no choice but to use sanitary products each month, which is why a sustainable alternative, be it reusable pads or menstrual cups, is really the way forward.
- No more toxic chemicals: it may surprise you to learn that feminine hygiene products are pretty much laced with toxic chemicals. With artificial fragrances and carcinogens filling the menstrual materials, it’s best to steer clear altogether.
- No toxic shock syndrome: tampons are notorious for having dangerous effects on our body, including toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Removing tampons from your life altogether is truly a must.
So, with all this in mind, I simply had to go reusable. That being said, it’s natural that we all have some concerns about consuming reusable sanitary products. But, that’s what I’m here for; to show you the ropes, and tell you why I’m so pleased I took the plunge…
How to Use Reusable Sanitary Pads
Reusable sanitary pads work pretty much in exactly the same way as normal disposable pads. The only differences between the two are that disposable pads are sticky, and won’t move around. But, considering the snug fit of the reusable pads on your knickers, they don’t really need the stickiness to remain in place.
So, simply attach your reusable pads to your knickers via the wings and the poppa, and you’re good to go! Then, when you change your pad, you can fold it up, inwards, poppa it together, and pop it into your reusable pad bag provided in the package. Sanitary, simple, and sustainable!
How do you Wash Reusable Menstrual Pads?
Reusable sanitary pads simply go in your washing machine, like anything else you’d wash. However, there’s absolutely no point in washing each pad one-by-one, as you go throughout your period. So, my step-by-step process for washing involves a couple of things.
Firstly, it’s a pretty good idea to soak your used pads in water at the end of each day. Then, hang them up to dry, ready for the mass washing machine wash at the end of your period week. My recommendations for the mass wash, which I noticed both on the Amazon reviews and from my own experiences, are as follows:
- Wash without conditioner, and only washing powder;
- Wash on their own, without other clothes, to avoid contamination;
- Wash at a high temperature – preferably 60 degrees or above – to remove any germs and bacteria.
By all means, you could hand wash your pads, ready for use next month. That said, I think it’s most effective to wash your pads in the washing machine, at the end of every period. This way, you can ensure all bacteria is thoroughly removed, and it saves you a lot of time and manpower.
Are Reusable Menstrual Pads Sanitary?
The simple answer is yes – yes they are sanitary. Just like any pad, you’re wearing it throughout the day, changing it a few times as you go, and then binning it. However, instead of binning your reusable sanitary towels, you’re simply getting them ready to wash in one go at the end of your period.
To add to this, the material that they’re made from is pretty water-resistant, which means that, so far, mine have not stained. This is always a good thing, especially when we’re talking about blood which, as we all know, has a habit of leaving marks. So, as long as you follow the instructions above, and clean your sanitary pads at around 60 degrees celsius, you should be fine.
Are Reusable Sanitary Pads Good?
As someone with a pretty light flow, I would say that these worked extremely well for me. At the end of the day, these pads work in practically the same way as any other pad; they’re absorbent and they can be swapped as many times as you want. So, if you find that the average pad works for your period normally, then these will work just as well.
What are the Best Reusable Sanitary Pads?
I’m only a pauper, which means I haven’t had the fortune of being able to purchase a huge collection of sanitary pads. That being said, I would say that the ones I chose were a pretty good choice.
For anything like this, I always search Amazon first; you can pretty much always trust that Amazon will get the job done. What’s more, with the thousands of tried-and-tested reviews out there, and the handy “Amazon’s Choice” category, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something worth buying.
So, I went for the reusable sanitary pads Amazon had, which cost me £12.99 for a pack of six pads, and a bag to carry them in. I decided to go for one of the first set and one of the second set for good measure, as I felt this was a good number to get me through my entire period.
Bearing in mind I have a very light flow, this sees me through. However, a heavier flow might require three or even four packs to last you throughout your whole period. Either way, you’re still saving the environment and money in the long-run.
What I didn’t realise was that the second choice in the link above came all the way from China. This meant my first package arrived the next day, but my second package took weeks and weeks. So, if you’re looking to buy these ones, I’d stick to the first option to ensure minimal air miles are utilised.
What I really love about these reusable pads is the super cute patterns on them. They’re fun, they’re colourful, and they’re exciting, which keeps your period full of choice, every single day. 10/10 would recommend.
My Overall Thoughts?
If you’ve made it this far, then you may have just about deducted that I love my reusable sanitary pads. Not only are they environmentally friendly, but they’re also much more comfortable than disposable pads. They also don’t make that horrible rustling sound I’m sure you’re used to hearing when wearing the average pad.
To top it all off, on a winter’s day, they really do keep everything warm and snuggly down there, during those colder months. All in all, I’m really pleased that I decided to take the plunge and go for it, and I don’t think I’ll be looking back!
Have you tried any reusable sanitary products, and have some thoughts of your own? Or, are you cautious about trying reusable sanitary pads, and need some encouragement? Either way, feel free to comment below, and let me know what you think! I hope you found this useful and informative, and that it’s made you think twice…