So far, the steps I have suggested for reducing our plastic usage may seem pretty straightforward and obvious. It's really not too difficult, is it, to be part of this movement? Today's suggestion might be a little more challenging for some of us, and it is perhaps a bit more difficult to talk about, but it is an important issue to discuss: period or menstrual products.
Now, if you are male, please don't just stop reading, because you may have a wife / girlfriend / sister / daughter who needs to hear about this ... Most of us have heard about reducing plastic bag usage, or about ditching the plastic straw, but we might not realise that one sanitary towel is equivalent in waste to four plastic bags! That's shocking, right? And sanitary products are filled with toxic chemicals which 1) we might not actually want to be putting so close to our intimate regions and 2) leak into the environment upon disposal. Eeeuch!
Recently, I looked in a box of tampons and found that they are no longer packaged with cardboard tubes, which were probably plastic coated anyway, as they were when I was younger, but that each tampon comes with a single-use plastic dispenser. I was actually quite shocked at the amount of single-use plastic in one tampon. And these menstrual products end up on our beaches, in our oceans or leaching into landfill where they take 500-800 years to decompose. If each woman uses over 16,000 menstrual products in her lifetime, then it's pretty clear we need to be looking for alternatives, and passing on a much healthier legacy to the next generation.
Alternatives are actually out there ... Yes! Option 1) The menstrual cup. There are many different brands to choose from, and I would really recommend giving this a go, particularly if you are an older woman, post-childbirth. Honestly, the mooncup changed my life. :) A one-off purchase of £20 from Boots (Yes, think of all that money you are saving every month) and, whilst it takes a little getting used to, persevere. No leaks and a shorter period are two other benefits of this clever little invention.
Option 2) If the menstrual cup thing really isn't for you, how about considering cloth pads? There are some really funky designs available now, or if you're clever with a sewing machine, you can even make your own. And failing that, definitely try to find a more environmentally friendly / chemical free sanitary product. Time to flex those consumer muscles again, folks! Come on!
Click HERE for more info on the mooncup or watch the video HERE.