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How To Switch To Cloth Menstrual Pads
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Tampons Pads And PeriodsPosted 05/30/08 • Last updated 09/26/11 • 709 views • 0 comments
Having your period isn’t exactly environmentally friendly. Most feminine products are bleached with chlorine, and many involve plastic applicators or linings, which means they will not easily decompose. Not to mention all that packaging, and the energy used in manufacturing! Consider the following stats:
- Each year, over 12 BILLION tampons and pads are USED ONCE and then tossed.
- Between 1998-1999, over 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas.
- In North America, there are 85 million women of menstruating age.
- An average woman throws away 250 to 300 pounds of menstrual products over her lifetime.
All that environmental degradation isn’t cheap. Women typically menstruate for about 35 years, and it can cost a woman nearly $3,000 to buy the needed disposable products.
(image courtesy of The Keeper)
How can you stop the environmental insanity?
You can start by buying more natural disposable products, although this is not necessarily a cheap option. Tampons are available in chlorine-free organic cotton, so they are your best disposable bet. There are also chlorine-free panty liners and pads available. Two companies that make natural tampons and pads are Seventh Generation and Natracare.
Buy reusable products, such as:
Reusable menstrual cups- Cups come in rubber or silicone, are reusable, and will last about 10 years. They should be emptied and rinsed every 8-12 hours. New users may feel cup a little initially, but after a few uses most people will no longer notice the cup. Cups are inserted by folding in half, then folding a second time. A small stem at the bottom is grabbed for removal.
How to fold menstrual cup for insertion:
(image courtesy of Diva Cup)
There are two reusable menstrual cups on the market. The both cost $33-35 depending on where you buy them from:
Sea sponges- Sponges are comfortable, reusable, all-natural, sustainably harvested, and will last at least 6 months. They aren't drying like tampons can be. Wet or wash out every 4 - 6 hours. To clean before or after your cycle, soak sponge in vinegar overnight or boil it. Cost is about 2 for $12.50. Available at natural foods stores or online.
Cloth pads- Cloth pads are even more comfortable than traditional pads, reusable, and will last at least 5 years. Change as often as you would a regular pad. There are at least 2 types of cloth pads available:
*AIOs (All In Ones) meaning that you need to change the entire pad (the most popular brand being Party in my Pants)
Most pads stay fastened through a snap enclosure attached to wings, even though you will find wingless ones as well. Available in everything from bright colors to non-dyed organic cotton. Comes clean in the wash (although I like to rinse mine out with soap and water when removed). If you need to change pads while out and about, they fold up for easy transport (especially true of Party In My Pants)-
image courtesy of Party In My Pants
Cost is about $12-15 for one, or $35-40 for 3. Available at natural food stores, or online. Two popular brands include Glad Rags and Party In My Pants:
- Glad Rags are available in 2 sizes, and come with removable inserts to vary protection level with your flow.
- Party In My Pants comes in 4 different sizes, are highly absorbent, and have a leak-proof back lining.
- Cheaper alternatives can be found on Etsy and Cloth Pad Shop, sold by regular women and made in a variety of colors, shapes and materials (some of them recycled). This way you are supporting independed crafters too!
- For custom made pads visit Punky's
- If you are handy with a sewing machine, there are several websites with instructions on how to make your own!
- What Is A Het High Efficiency Toilet
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