Blog by Jenna
Sustainable Merton Community Champion
The sustainable periods movement is on a high and there have never been as many options, or as much information available when it comes to how we choose to manage our menstruation. While knowledge is power, the options can be overwhelming and it’s not just about saving the planet, it’s also about making periods affordable and ensuring the products we use are the safest ones for our bodies.
Fact: 1 in 10 young people have been unable to afford period products and the issue of accessibility has been worsened with the rise of Covid.
Period poverty is a real issue and something that no one who menstruates should have to endure. The folks over at (UK founded) Hey Girls offer a range of reasonably priced options via their online shop (including cups, washable pads and pants, as well as eco-aware disposables) and pair it with a “buy one, give one” pledge, meaning that when you buy their products you are also supporting other people with periods who are in need. Does it get much better than that? We don’t think so!
Let’s get personal
Environmentalism is a global issue, but the choices we make often relate to what makes us feel our best as individuals. Community Champion Jenna had been using disposable pads and tampons for over 15 years before she made the switch to reusables. Here she tells us about her experience trying a variety of products and how she found what worked best for her…
"I had been aware of menstrual cups for years, but it wasn’t until a friend of mine said that she used one that I decided to give it a try. It took the first cycle to really get the hang of inserting it, and the first time I had to remove it I panicked a little, but my second cycle using it I felt much more relaxed. What I was most surprised about was that when it was in place it was so comfy that I could forget it was there, whether I was just spotting or in full flow, and they are safe to use for up to 12 hours at a time. Toxic Shock Syndrome was always on my mind with tampons, so that has been a real relief. I think the biggest barrier for using a cup is how at ease you are with your own body and period, as it is quite hands on. If you can get past that, they are a solid investment; mine cost around £20 and as they can last up to 5 years, it’s a big saving compared to the £5 each month that I was spending on disposables. In the early days I was worried about leaks, so I tested out washable liners for added protection. The main downside with the pads is that they lack adhesive, so despite the snap fasteners on the wings they can move around a little in your underwear if you are very active. For that reason, I preferred period pants as my back-up. They are pricier than the pads, but I found them so comfortable and they feel like regular pants under my clothes. The cup works great on its own, but they give me peace of mind on heavy days.”
Local brand stand
London based DAME who launched their organic cotton tampons and reusable applicators last year, have been pushing the boundaries with their bold approach to period positivity, accessibility and sustainability. They made a big splash when their Bleed Red, Think Green campaign appeared on the side of London buses back in October and they’ve even been featured in this February’s issue of British Vogue! Excitingly, this British born brand has gone from kickstarter launch to supermarket shelves in super speed - check them out at Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Boots.
We’ve compiled a list of products found at local stores and pharmacies, to help you find what you need for a greener period.
❣️ The Totm range is offered at larger Tesco stores and Superdrug, which includes their Reusable Menstrual Cup and Reusable Tampon applicator, as well as a variety of plastic-free liners, pads and tampons.
❣️ Sainsbury’s supermarkets currently stock the Intimina Lily Cup, which is collapsible and comes with a handy pocket size case, as well as Wuka period-proof pants and Yoni plastic-free pads and liners.
❣️ Shop a selection of Thinx’s cotton period-proof pants range at your local Boots (check click and collect options on their website). They also sell the Moon Cup menstrual cup and an own brand equivalent.
Want to find out more?
Check out Plastic Ocean’s great blog on plastic-free periods