We need to start talking about having a vegan and sustainable period !
Periods may have once been thought of as a woman’s only issue, but nowadays their impact is felt in numerous ways. According to a recent study, one regular sanitary pad can contain up to five plastic bags worth of plastic. I mean, what?! Couple this with the fact that a female uses on average 11,000 throwaway tampons and pads in a lifetime, there is no doubt that periods have become an environmental problem, too.
Some shocking figures
It has been estimated that 1.5‐2 billion menstrual items are flushed down Britain’s toilets each year. The majority of these products end up incinerated or in landfill (Marine Conservation Society).
An average of 4.8 pieces of menstrual waste are found per 100 metres of beach cleaned. That amounts to 4 pads, panty-liners and backing strips, along with at least one tampon and applicator per 100m (Marine Conservation Society). Finally, an average woman will create 250-300 pounds of waste across a lifetime using traditional menstruating products. If that makes you pause, you’re probably wondering how you can minimise the environmental impact of your period.
Personally, I’ve heard the whole ‘switch to a menstrual cup!’ debate but I have to be honest: the menstrual cup is not for everyone and not yet for me! I am so over feeling any kind of shame around tampons and any period products that you feel you can’t use because they are not ‘sustainable enough’. So many people can’t use a cup, so today I’m so excited to tell you more about my partner on this blog post, Natracare.
I’m so excited to be working with them because of the bullet points that I am about to mention down below but essentially they are an amazing period company creating non-toxic, vegan, sustainable, and ethical menstrual and maternity products that actually work. They have been campaigning and producing certified organic and natural solutions for personal health for over 30 years and I love how super transparent they are as they offer full ingredient disclosure (which period companies are not legally obliged to do!!)
Why I like Natracare
They are Vegan: You can read more about this topic here, but basically traditional companies carry out animal testing on tampons still today (which is totally unnecessary), by putting up chemically laden tampons on our furry friends’ vaginas or even inserted into the tissue of their back of their necks. Which is horrifying. What I didn’t know, is that menstrual cups are considered medical devices, which means they also need to be tested to ensure that the silicone they’re made out of is safe to use. Thankfully Natracare are approved by the Vegetarian Society.
They are Non-Toxic: I like the fact that Natracare is free from synthetics, petroleum derivatives, alcohol, parabens, formaldehyde, phenoxyethanol and other common chemicals in conventional feminine care, maternity care, and wipes products. Their products are also made from renewable, biodegradable, and compostable materials, including organic cotton, bioplastics (made from plant starches), and wood pulp.
They are Sustainable: They source their raw materials sustainably, and make sure that from creation to transport they create as little emissions as possible. They are equally a certified zero carbon energy company!
They are Easy To Find: Natracare is available in Waitrose, a variety of health food shops and on Amazon and Ocado in the UK. Their products are all completely vegan, biodegradable and compostable, but you can find a whole list of retailers on their ‘Where To Buy‘ page!
MY EXPERIENCE WITH NATRACARE
Personally, I’m a big fan of pads and panty liners and that’s pretty much what I have used my whole life. I switched to organic cotton pads a while back because they are kinder to the skin and the environment. But also I have found that plastic pads cause irritation! So in a bid to become more holistic in my vegan and sustainable lifestyle, I tried switching to Natracare for my period products. Keep reading to see how I got on (I promise there is no such thing as tmi in this topic!)
First of all, I loved the wrapper of the normal pads. You can tell that they are not plastic, they are made from a paper peel strip and paper pocket, which is so new to me but I loved that the most! I think it’s cool to know that your pad is biodegradable and home-compostable, which made me feel no guilt whatsoever. I found the pads to be very soft and not heavy at all. Quite absorbent for every flow, whether it was with or without wings.
As someone who suffers with sensitive skin, the normal panty liners were by far my favourite. The wrapper is made from plant-starch, and they were soft and absorbent, perfect everyday comfort. They are made with certified organic cotton cover which may seem like a luxury but it’s oh-so-necessary. Organic cotton is an entire topic for itself, so here is an article where I talk about it in more depth.
As per the tampons, I use them if I am exercising as I found that whenever I sweat the pads tend to stick out! I liked the tampons with applicators, which were amazing to use as they also came in biodegradable cardboard applicator and paper wrapper.
N.B: the plastic wrapping on the non-applicator tampons are made from BPA-free, recyclable plastic. This is used to meet legal requirements as the tampons are considered a medical device. Some other brands have begun switching to ‘paper’ wrappings, but until that is a safe and more sustainable option, Natracare will keep using their current packaging.
Conventional period product brands are selling tampons and pads that aren’t vegan and are filled with nasty chemicals and single use plastic, both in the tampon, applicator, and wrapping, therefore littering the world’s oceans, contributing to pollution and killing wildlife across the globe. Which is not cool.
Because I believe that businesses are a force for good, I love supporting those as a consumer. Like Natracare, who make sure their products are transparent and that are having a positive impact. Whether you want to use pads, tampons or panty liners, or a combination of all three, I’m so happy to see that there are plastic-free, organic and vegan options on the market and that periods are now being discussed in open conversations, slowly getting rid of the taboo. I want to be part of the conversation and I hope that by talking about Natracare you now have access to a more educated view about sustainable period products!