Everyone saw the heartbreaking footage captured off the coast of Bali in March this year. In the footage, diver Rich Horner is seen swimming through a slick of plastic, unlike anything many people had seen before. Today is World Environment Day and plastic pollution is at the forefront of many people’s minds.
While pads and tampons may seem like the most practical sanitary product to invest in, according to the Women’s Environment Network a woman will go through an average of more than 11,000 disposable menstrual products throughout the course of her life, that’s quite a bit of waste. Tampons and pads also take approximately 500 years to decompose. Gross.
Some sort of sanitary solution is a necessity, but not only are tampons and pads polluting the world, they’re bloody expensive.
Let’s do the maths;
- A box of 36 Tampax in Boots costs £5.49
- An average period lasts 5 days
- On average a woman changes her tampon every 6 hours, that’s 4 times a day
- That’s 20 tampons per period (plus the ones that get lost in various cavernous handbags)
- The average woman gets her first period at 12 and hits menopause at 51 = 39 years of periods
- That’s 468 periods in a lifetime
- At 20 tampons a period = 9,360 tampons
- 9,360 tampons is 260 boxes of 36 at £5.49 = £1,427.40, just on tampons
Not to mention the money spent on ruined pants, and lost tampons. Screw that, that’s a bloody good holiday we’re missing out on all for little bits of plastic that pollute the oceans and put us at risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Other options like the once wildly popular MoonCup have faded into obscurity in recent years due to their precarious emptying procedure, uncomfortableness, and failure to take any sort of physical disability or incapacity into consideration.
So, would you ditch the tampons in favour of a pair of reusable, machine washable, stylish pants that claim to absorb all period blood (even on a heavy flow), eliminate odour, and offer style and comfort while you’re surfing the crimson wave?
Period pants have taken the world by storm recently with astounding success and incredibly positive reviews.
How do they work I hear you ask? Stifle that initial ‘ugh!’ that’s popped into your brain at the thought of intentionally bleeding into your pants, and read about how they work.
Brand WUKA is one of the most popular choices in period underwear, so much so that if you ordered your pants in December, you will only just be receiving them now due to such high volumes of demand. They retail at £29.99 and offer full refund or size exchange within 40 days.
The pants are made up of 4 layers of fabric made from soft, breathable, luxurious and moisture-wicking fabric. The central layer is divided into an absorbent antibacterial layer that traps the blood, capable of holding 4 tampons worth of blood, on average that’s a day and nights worth of blood. There’s also an all important leak proof layer so you can wear white jeans, if you’re that way inclined.
You wake up, you realise you’re on, you know you’ve got a million tampons hiding somewhere, in bags, under the bed, but you’re running late for work. Imagine how liberating it would feel to just pull on a pair of silky, stylish pants and run out of the door, safe in the knowledge that you ’re good for the day.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to wear that beautiful cream summer dress instead of black jeans on a hot day? Imagine being able to just enjoy a festival without queuing an hour for the toilets, or walking an hour back to the tent. Or the satisfaction of knowing you’re fine on that 20 hour, toilet-less bus through rural India. You never have to touch an overflowing sanitary bin again.
One user said that going to sleep with the pants on, feeling your body just doing its own thing was oddly relaxing.
The positives are endless.
Do they smell? The question that women are most concerned about. And the general consensus is no. The antibacterial properties will help keep odour at bay and according to Manchester based blogger Gin Fuelled Blue Stocking who reviewed Flux pants, they really do. Not only do Flux pants work, they also come in a wide range of skin tones, styles and sizes starting at £25, and have a beautifully inclusive ad campaign.
To top it all off, for every pair of magic pants you buy, Flux will send a pair to a developing country to help end period shame.
This is another huge advantage of these revolutionary pants as in many developing countries, dealing with a period can be traumatic. In Nepal, for example, the average wage for a labour job (housekeeper, cook) is 100 rupees a day, around 70 pence. When a box of tampons cost 275 rupees, you’re going to choose food. Also in Nepal is the now illegal but still sometimes present practice of Chhaupadi, wherein a woman is banished to a small hut or outside space for the duration of her period, because she is considered ‘impure’.
This nonsense has led to many unnecessary deaths, including 21-year-old Gauri Bayak who died in January from suspected smoke inhalation, after lighting a fire in her hut when temperatures outside would have been well below freezing.
Brand Dear Kate, take things beyond underwear and have created range of period resistant yoga pants starting at £75, and Panty Prop offer a range of protective swimwear, with a selection of plain and patterned one and two pieces starting at £50.
Modibodi is an Australian brand also helping ladies out, with a huge selection of swimwear and underwear modelled by real women, starting at £15, for a range of flow intensities. These lovely companies really do have all bases covered, meaning that apart from the often crippling pain and terror-inducing bouts of anger, we really can just get on with it.
This is intelligent underwear that is not only making life easier for women around the world, but also helping the world heal itself environmentally. Organisation Bloody Good Period offer free sanitary products to women throughout the UK. They supply 15 asylum sanctuaries across London and Leeds as well as women living off as little as £36 a week in an attempt to end poverty and ensure women have a ‘bloody good period’.
They fully endorse the use of period pants, both as a universally more ethical alternative to tampons, and also as a great resource for homeless women, and those who simply cannot afford tampons.
This Thursday 7 June is Red Wave Talks. An evening of talks from inspirational female speakers designed to take down taboos and create a climate where #menstruationmatters