– GUEST BLOG BY HANNAH THEISEN –
Let’s talk about the societal and environmental impact of periods. The average woman has her period for 3 to 7 days per month, and goes through menstruation cycles from the age of 13 until the age of 51. That adds up to a total of 456 periods over 38 years … Another way of looking at this number is that most women will be on their period for about 6.25 years of their lives!
The most common period-management products on the market are plastic-riddled pads and tampons in plastic tubes. Loaded with toxic chemicals that are harmful to women’s bodies, they quickly add up in landfills. That’s thousands of bits of plastic and cotton that take hundreds of years to decompose.
Thankfully, there are other options that are better for your body and the Earth, like menstrual cups, sponges, absorbent underwear and reusable cloth pads. Recently, I was given some of these pads to review by the Australia-based initiative Ecopads. If you’re considering switching to an eco-friendly hygiene routine, fabric pads are probably easiest to get used to – sort of the gateway to a greener menstruation.
Ecopads come in three sizes: liners, regular pads, and overnight pads. The textured fabric backing keeps the pads in place and they’re secured by snaps. A waterproof and absorbent layer inside the pad keeps you dry and comfortable, but yet the pads are thin instead of bulky! Mine arrived with a sweet handwritten note and a few bags of tea which I promptly tossed into a basket along with my collection of homemade rice-filled heating packs (I don’t own a microwave so I heat these for a few moments in the oven when I need them).
Mine arrived with a sweet handwritten note and a few bags of tea- which I promptly tossed into a basket along with my collection of homemade rice-filled heating packs (I don’t own a microwave so I heat these for a few moments in the oven when I need them).
‘Honestly, now that I’ve switched over to natural and reusable products, I can’t imagine ever going back’
For my own hygiene routine, I use a menstrual cup with reusable pads as backup or only pads on nights when I don’t feel like sleeping with my cup. I’ve also begun keeping a pad in a little cotton bag in my handbag, in case I get caught unaware while I’m out and about.
Honestly, now that I’ve switched over to natural and reusable products, I can’t imagine ever going back! Cloth pads are FAR more comfortable than their conventional counterparts, and they’re easy to wash and care for (just rinse them out and toss them into your normal laundry).
‘For every cloth pad purchased, one will be donated to a girl or woman in a developing country’
Ecopad’s mission is more than just creating eco-friendly period care alternatives. Freeda, Ecopad’s founder, is scaling up her non-profit company to increase the impact of the one-for-one model she’s implemented. For every purchased Ecopad, one will be given to a girl without proper access to female hygiene items. Rather than just sending made-in-Australia pads overseas to women in need, Ecopads will be providing employment opportunities for women at Eco Femme in India. Check out Freeda’s video for more details and head over to her crowdfunding campaign to order some pads and help Freeda reach her goals for Ecopad’s growth!
Hannah Theisen is the founder of Life + Style + Justice. She blogs about social justice and sustainable living. Freeda Thong is the founder of Ecopads Australia, a social enterprise that makes cloth pads with a passion. For every cloth pad purchased, one will be donated to a girl or woman in a developing country.
More guest blogs:
A very public menstrual leak, by Sarah Sahagian
Dear Period, by Yayeri van Baarsen
Me & My Cycle, by Mariette Reineke
Period changes and chemotherapy, by Cruz Santana
A time for celebration, by Robyn Jones
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