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Article: How to Have a Plastic-Free Period

A woman wearing white underwear holds a red rose

How to Have a Plastic-Free Period

This week marks Water Saving Week (23rd to 27th May) and Menstrual Hygiene Day (28th May). With both awareness campaigns just a day apart, we wanted to explore the links between plastic-free periods and water supplies, and to showcase our affordable and sustainable period care range.  

The problem: period plastic waste

Think of a tampon box. Each tampon is individually packaged with a disposable applicator and wrapped in a shiny film of plastic - that’s a lot of unnecessary rubbish! In fact, the average woman in the UK will use an average of 11,000 disposable menstrual products (like tampons!) in their lifetime. The result? A never-ending stream of non-biodegradable waste. 

Globally, around 45 billion period products are disposed of every year. In the UK, tampons, pads and panty liners produce more than 20,000 tonnes of waste per year. What’s more 1 in 2 British women flush their one-use menstrual products down the toilet. It’s no surprise, then, that sanitary products are the fifth most common type of plastic waste found on Europe’s beaches.

When plastic period products enter landfill, rivers and oceans, they break down into minuscule micro-plastics that contaminate our water supply. These same micro-plastics are incredibly harmful to local wildlife, and end up being ingested by us humans (micro-plastics have even been found in the placentas of unborn babies!). Resultant water pollution has a huge knock-on effect on those experiencing period poverty; clean water, sanitation facilities and effective waste management is crucial for improving access to menstrual products. It’s the same reason we’ve donated over 20,000 pairs of underwear to vulnerable women and children across the globe. By improving access to underwear, we can help close the education and employment gap resulting from people missing out on schooling or work when they're on their period.

The solution: plastic-free periods

Switching to plastic-free alternatives to disposable tampons or pads helps to eliminate the shocking scale of plastic waste entering our atmosphere. We believe that everyone should have the right to safe, sustainable and non-toxic period products. That’s why we like to think of ourselves as your one-stop shop for sustainable period products (try saying that 5 times!). We know that period care is a matter of preference, so we’ve made sure there’s something for every flow and every budget. 

OrganiCup Menstrual Cup (£18)

We love OrganiCup Menstrual cups because they can be reused again and again, are made from 100% medical-grade silicon, and can be worn for up to 12 leak-free hours. Plus, they’re a great money-saving investment; by lasting up to 10 years, you won’t have to spend an average £1,200 on disposable menstrual products. 

The best part is that, for every cup sold, we donate £1 to Just A Drop’s Menstrual Hygiene Programme in the minuscule District of Uganda. Just a Drop is an international water charity that brings sustainable safe water, sanitation and hygiene projects to communities across Asia, Africa and Latin America. Your donation, through purchasing a menstrual cup, will help to support over 1,000 children with menstrual hygiene education and access to sustainable period products and soap. 

Organicup menstrual cup, packaging and cloth bag

&Sisters Pads, Tampons and Liners (£3.60 - £3.80)

&Sisters’ period care range is entirely plastic-free! Made from plant-based materials and ethically sourced organic cotton, their pads, liners and tampons are 100% biodegradable and compostable, and are free from synthetics, dyes and perfumes. Whether you prefer pads with wings, or have a heavier flow, there’s something for everybody. 

Like us, &Sisters are a certified B Corp who use GOTS Organic Cotton in their products. Not only is organic cotton much softer and kinder to the skin, it’s also much better for the planet – it’s grown without pesticides, requires less blue water and energy to grow, and also results in less pollution. We love GOTS certified organic cotton so much that we use it in our underwear, and you can learn more about why here.

&Sisters plastic-free period pads

Flux Undies Period Pants (£25-27)

Speaking of underwear, have you tried Flux Undies Period Pants? Flux's classic bikini period underwear combines style with function. Holding up to four tampons' worth, they are a dream to wear day and night and can be worn leak-free for up to 10 hours! They're perfect for any period-haver, or anyone suffering from incontinence or bladder-control issues, as they can be worn no matter your flow for leak-free confidence. Plus, each pair of Flux period pants replaces 200+ disposables from going to landfill - how amazing is that?! We have two flows available, medium or heavy and stock sizes 8-18.

A woman wears flux period pants and smiles with her hands in the air

Save My Knickers Blood Stain Removing Powder (£13)

With Save My Knickers’ Stain Removing Powder, you can wear your favourite Y.O.U undies with confidence - no matter what day of the month it is! The stain removing powder is really simple to use and adds as little as 60 seconds to your normal laundry routine. It works to remove blood stains from your underwear, clothing and bedding to make your favourite items last longer, and it can be used on all colour safe fabrics. It arrives packaged in a cardboard tube with a tinplate cap - both of which are widely recycled.

A pair of almond bikini bottoms with a teal bottle of save my knickers

Want to learn more? Have a read of this…

  1. How We're Working to Fight Period Poverty in Uganda
  2. Period Poverty: What Y.O.U can do
  3. How to Prevent and Manage Period Leaks, With Natracare

Written by Melissa Watt

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