There’s a growing trend absorbing the nation for promoting eco-friendly products for people who have periods, and a heavy flow of reusable and washable options for those keen to reduce their monthly carbon footprint.
What’s the issue? Plastic is a big one. In the UK, the average menstruator uses over 11,000 disposable menstrual products in a lifetime. Tampons, pads and panty liners along with their packaging generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year, and they all contain plastic - in fact, disposable pads are around 90% plastic! Plastic waste ends up in landfill or, even worse, in seas, rivers and beaches (source: Women’s Environmental Network).
But what alternatives are out there? Shocked that the average user throws away an astonishing 125 to 150kg of tampons, pads and applicators in their lifetime, the team at SH:24 were determined to see what other options are out there.
We reviewed reusable pads, liners, period pants and menstrual cups as alternatives to disposable sanitary products and here’s what we found.
First up: Linnea shares her ratings for both overnight and daytime options to replace your regular sanitary pads with reusable cotton substitutes.
This pad is really big - and you can feel it. Albeit not really any less comfortable than your usual night pads, but it’s nothing I would wear in the day as it feels bulky and a bit stiff. It does move around quite easily, which feels uncomfortable. It felt better when I wore bigger and tighter pants - highly recommend as impossible with flimsy small knickers.
Good absorbency overall, but not around the wings especially where the seams are. I wore it at night and did have problems with it leaking, not through the pad but around the side of it and around the seams of the wings. I think the wings are slightly too small for me for night wear, especially since I move around a lot at night and the pad itself does not stay in place that well which means it leaked at the side.
Will keep trying it though. I have a feeling there’s a knack to the leak protection part, like wearing big tight underwear or some tight bottoms over to keep them in place.
I rinsed it with cold water after use, and it felt quite cathartic seeing all the blood run out of it. Very satisfying and meditative. Then I just threw it in with my normal 40C dark wash, came out clean and with no issues whatsoever. Ordered them in black so can’t tell if they’re stained- which I’m absolutely happy with.
£19.95 for 3 - for me, three is enough for the duration of my period and the price is around average for night pads, from what I can see.
These are actually really soft and comfortable; the top cover is some sort of fleece which feels like wearing a blanket. The downside is they can feel a bit bulky, especially if you are wearing loose underwear (again flimsy small knickers not recommended). The fit is less good; again they can easily move around and without tight underwear keeping them in place it can feel uncomfortable. Once it slid all the way up towards my butt, adding zero menstruation protection, so I did feel the need to periodically check it was still in place under my vagina.
They definitely have better absorbency than your disposable pad. At times where I was bleeding a lot it could feel wet which was a bit uncomfortable and made it feel like it was leaking, but in the end my knickers stayed stain-free. Also found it harder to judge when it was time to change it, but I think that’ll come once I’ve used them more.
I rinsed these with cold water after use as well, very satisfying seeing the blood stains run out of the white fabric so easily (anyone who’s labouring over getting blood stains out of white pants will know the struggle…)
Did these on my normal 40C light wash, came out clean and great. Only had a bit of trouble with darker blood from the end of my period not coming out completely in the wash, leaving some light stains.
£13.50 for 3 - not bad, I think this price is fair for what you get although you’ll need a lot more than 3 to last you for your entire period.