This article contains a fair bit of womanly ‘details’! If you are of a sensitive disposition, you may not want to read this and maybe just tweet me for my opinion instead!
As part of my journey towards a zero waste lifestyle, one of the first things I wanted to do was reduce the amount of tampons and pads I disposed of. I started my monthly’s at a relatively early age (I can’t tell you precisely because I am rubbish at remembering significant things like this). I have always had what I consider a short but heavy period.
Ok I’m going to slightly divert here a little bit – possibly get on my soapbox- how the hell are we meant to know whether we are heavy or light? I guess most of us go by the product we buy. But I buy a whole range depending on which day of my cycle it is. AND why should I have to buy products for this anyway?! Periods are not exactly a choice (unless you are on some sort of contraception which stops them). Why should I have to pay to manage this monthly ordeal? I told you I would get on one!
The Cost of being a Woman
Anyway, so I started to do the maths on how much I was spending on tampons and pads, and tried to work out how much I would have spent roughly since my first one. Assuming the price of these hasn’t changed and I have been having periods for about 20 years (ouch!), I will have roughly spend £900 so far. If I then assume that I will continue for another 20 years (optimistic but you never know), that would be £1800. That’s a lot of money.
Then think about all that money, being thrown away. Ok, this might be a selfish reason to reduce waste – but it’s also a big deal for most people. But then imagine money as a massive pile of plastic, never breaking down but just getting more and more rancid. Right, on that disgusting point, let’s move on!
So I decided to investigate alternatives to the disposable options. I had heard about the infamous mooncup, and had spoken in graphic detail with friends that used them, but I wasn’t sure I liked the idea. I had heard stories of them being quite difficult to place and had images in my head of doing yoga positions in public toilets trying to achieve this!
It wasn’t until I went to a blogger conference that I met a company who created reusable period pads. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who had never heard or considered this as an option. Quite a few women were gathered around the table, astonished that each pad could last all day. They were on sale for £15 for two, so I decided to invest. Guaranteed to last five years, imagine how much money I would save if these worked! Oh, and the minor issue of reducing waste.
I was lucky enough that my next period fell on a week off work. This isn’t a sentence I ever thought I would say – who wants to have stomach cramps on holiday? But we didn’t have any plans except chill at home, so I decided this was the perfect time to try out the pads.
The Trial Begins
Day one. Actually before I go any further, I should apologise for any TMI in the rest of the article. But I think most ladies out there would appreciate a little honesty when considering these things.
OK, day one. I start relatively light, and then get heavier as the day goes on. This generally last for a couple days before gradually getting lighter and stopping around day 6. I was advised that each pad could hold up to 15ml of fluid. So I decided to push it to it limits! As I was only very light to begin with, I wore the same pad that night as well. To my astonishment, it held out. No nasty stains on the bedsheets and nothing on the outside of the pad. Very impressive.
I rinsed the pad in cold water, until it ran clean, and left it to dry for the day. Don’t worry, they had a hot wash at the end of the week, but I figured in the interests of being eco-friendly I would minimise the number of times the washing machine went on!
Anyway, I put the second pad on for the second day, and repeated the process until Mother Nature had said her goodbyes for another month.
One thing I would say is that because it’s quite warm here in the UK, my radiators aren’t on and so the pad didn’t dry as quickly as I hoped. I didn’t want to put it in the tumble dryer in case it affected the material inside. So I did have to use a disposable pad overnight as I didn’t have one clean or dry to wear. This wouldn’t be an issue if I had more than two, so I think next month I will buy some more to allow for this.
Overall the experience was a positive one. The pads are comfortable and certainly didn’t leak. I felt very secure in them and I also didn’t notice that delightful smell you get with disposable pads.
I will definitely be using again!