Wednesday 26 February 2020

Review - Plastic Free Sanitary Wear

This is my 16th review on plastic alternatives. I hope these help give some ideas on alternatives you can use in your daily lives.

Scoring system: 

❤ = Will keep, I love it / 👀 = Not sure, will try some more / 😐 = Oh dear, it's not for me

Review Sixteen - Chemical and Plastic Free Sanitary Wear

Why on Earth are sanitary towels made with plastic I hear you ask. But is this true? 

According to Natracare, they say, on average, there may be 36g of plastic in every packet of period pads. That’s 2.4g of plastic per pad, and 2.5g for the outer pack itself. That’s the equivalent of 5 plastic carrier bags per pack. They go on to say that the average woman uses 11,000 menstrual items in their lifetime. And that's just one person!

Discarded items sometimes wash up on beaches (menstrual products are the 5th most common item washed up on European shores). 

I'm sure the Marine Conservation Society weren't particular happy when they found 20 tampons and sanitary items per 100 metres of shoreline during a beach cleanup in 2016!

Despite the name, 'fat bergs' in sewers are mostly made up of personal care products:- According to the BBC wet wipes contribute to 93% and the other 7% included feminine hygiene products. Only half a percent was actually made up of fat!

According to friends of the earth tampons have plastic in them too – even in the string – and plastic applicators are made from polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). They say 90% of a menstrual pad can be plastic and 6% of a tampon.

If that's not enough to put you off how about this:- A recent study from the US found that non-organic rayon-based tampons contain nasty chemicals including Carbon Disulfide, a known reproductive toxin and Methylene Chloride which is a chemical found in paint stripper! (Carbon Disulfide was not found in organic cotton tampons thank goodness).

So What Can We Do?

Friends of the Earth recommend switching to menstrual cups (have seen them being sold in local supermarkets), or washable pads from online stores or look for the organic plastic free alternatives that are chlorine free.

With this in mind I have been switching to a brand called Natracare. Made from organic cotton and wood pulp, according to their web site, Natracare pads have been plastic free since 1995.

Natrcare Plastic Free Cotton Sanitary Towels

As well as Natura Care I have also tried a product called Flo which is a natural, plant-based product, biodegradable and hypoallergenic - they use materials like organic cotton and organically-grown bamboo. 5% of proceeds goes to charities, which includes providing sanitary wear for schools and asylum centres. 

According to their site the pads use plant based biowrappers although the pad backing, and tampon wrapper and applicator is made from plastic (they're currently working on compostable materials). I have noticed on ethical superstore that their FLO tampons now say the applicators are made from plant based plastic so looks like advancements are being made.

Their sanitary wear is free from chlorine, synthetics, chemicals and fragrance free which is an added bonus.

Flo Bamboo Sanitary Pads / Menstrual Towels

My Verdict?

I have tried the Natracare tampons with no problems to report. They are very much the same as my normal product, but I rest safe in the knowledge that these are plastic free, organic, chlorine free and are also biodegradeable.

The natracare pads I tried were soft and comfortable. A little on the short side but they do stick very well. (You need good muscles to peel them off after use!)

With the Flo sanitary towel I bought the night and day pack. You get more day time ones which makes a lot of sense. The product with wings has the wings about a third of the way up meaning you can't position the item centrally. I find this doesn't work as well as those that do position centrally (for me anyway!) 

I love the box - it says 'Hello Gorgeous' on it and was nice to think some profits goes towards charities. Having a product that uses bamboo is a nice change to try and help save the trees.

So my verdict for both Natracare and Flo products was a love from me 💗. You can order both brands from ethical superstores.

Check out this video, it may help you make the change!