Let’s get straight in. There are three compelling reasons why you should switch from disposable menstrual items to reusable menstrual pads or cups:
- Helps your pockets.
- Helps your body.
- Helps the environment.
Wait, what there? You want better reasoning, and more of an explanation than that?! Ok ok, but first a story..
Reusable Period Socks?
When I was in highschool I was visiting the home of a friend of mine and her mumma got to talking to us, as she often did. We loved listening to her because she was always chock full of cool stories about her adolescence and we learned a lot. On this particular occasion she was reveling in the fact that her mother and aunties used to use socks each month when they bled. She said, “they’d just wash them and reuse them the following month! They didn’t have what we have now.” My friend and I glanced at one another with a man times used to be hard kind of look then continued to listen to on, wondering what crazy thing she’d reveal next. For the pair of us, reusable socks as menstrual pads, though interesting, was madness! Not when we lived in the contemporary world and had all the modern comforts of the disposable and more hygienic options. Little did we know.
We Were Taught Backwards
In reality my friend’s grandmother, whether she was aware or not, was doing a serious service to herself and the planet. Let’s face it, most of us are subject to the whims of society, meaning that we often do things for the mere fact that it is societally acceptable. Often, we are unaware that many things that we accept as the norm are problematic, where alternative options are often a healthier, more cost- effective choice. The use of disposable pads and tampons certainly falls in this category. The funny thing is, most of us are so conditioned in what we class as normal that when an alternative option is offered, we look at it in disgust and are unwilling to give it the time of day. Despite the holdups that you might have about reusable pads and menstrual cups, here’s three descriptive, compelling reasons why you should make the switch today.
Reason 1: Saves Money
One of the best reasons to do anything! When purchasing tampons or pads regularly, the average woman will use anywhere from 11,000 to 17,000 tampons or disposable pads in a lifetime. This means that regular consumption of either product can leave us in a deficit of nearly $3000. A calculation on the Lunapads website shows that the average cost for disposable pads for 5 years is $330 and $332 within 5 years for tampons. That’s a lot of money when considering the fact that you can buy a pack of 5 reusable pads anywhere from $10-20, that are said to last upwards of five years, and a menstrual cup costs between $7 and $35 and lasts for about two years. That is a major difference!
I first went reusable in 2015 and since then my savings have been both noted and greatly appreciated. I elected to make my own cloth pads and the only money I spend now, is the cost of washing them (which isn’t much). Because I had all the materials to make my own, the startup cost was $0, however for those who aren’t the crafty type you can purchase ready made ones here or even opt for the menstrual cups here (if you prefer tampons to pads).
Reason 2: Safer for the Body
Cloth pads are made from material that is soft and breathable (cotton) and allows air to flow to our most sensitive area. This contrasts greatly with traditional/ disposable products that contain synthetic materials and bleaching agents which many women are significantly sensitive to. In fact, disposable pads and tampons are full of crazy ingredients like bleached wood pulp, super- absorbent acrylic polymers (SAPs), unknown fragrance chemicals, and leak- proof plastic backings. These may sound like agents that are necessary to get the job done properly (so to speak) but these types of ingredients also pose a risk of:
- cervical cancer
- pelvic inflammatory disease
- toxic shock syndrome
- breast cancer
- immune system deficiencies
- ovarian cancer
Switching to a reusable item reduces these risks significantly by opting for a more natural material. Many women who have made the switch have found that they have eliminated irritation, sweating, chaffing and recurring yeast infections. Thumbs up to that!!
Is Hygiene an Issue?
Some women who hear about reusable pads and cups question if hygiene is an issue. We all have different tolerance levels for that which leaves our body, but my experience is that cleanliness is not a problem. I change my cloth pad at the same time that I would a disposable pad, the only difference is that I endeavor to wash it instead of throw it away. Have you ever leaked onto a pair of your delicates before? Do you always throw them away if something like that happens? My guess is that you might rinse them in cool water, maybe use a bit of vinegar, throw them in the wash and marvel at the fact that they are good as new. You would hardly look at this as being unhygienic, and the same principle works for cloth pads.
I usually have no problems with leaking or having to change my cloth pad while out. In the event that aunt Flow has visited and I am out for a lengthy amount of time I bring a resealable bag and extra cloth pad in case I need to make a change. I rinse with cold water and wash it in my machine at my first available opportunity. When it comes out of the washer it is perfect for use in the following month. Happy days.
Reason 3: For Planet Earth, and for Us All!
Here’s a staggering figure. In North America alone, 20 billion (BILLION!) pads, tampons and applicators are sent to landfills each year. Combine that with the fact that most pads and tampons are made with plastics (every bit of plastic that was ever made remains to this day.. yeah this stuff is not degradable in the least) and we begin to see a very harmful environmental impact. One reusable pad or cup equals about 120 disposable ones. This is the reality and its important to consider, especially as conscious individuals who care about the only known home that we have. This also goes to show how seemingly small individual choices (like making the switch) can truly help in looking after the planet.
Capitalism is an evil that runs rampant in the world, but that does not mean that we must surrender to it in all aspects of our lives. You should switch to reusable menstrual pads and cups because they offer better long- term benefits for you and your home.
These reasons were more than enough for me to make the switch, and I hope that you can join me for the health of your body, the planet and your purse! 😉
You can get them easily, here
What did you think about this post? What would it take for you to give a reusable item a chance? Make sure to comment below and share this with a friend who you think would find it helpful!