It’s not a subject thought about much or talked about in adverts: what is it that pads, tampons and panty liners are made from and what other effects they might have. But the impact is surprisingly big, and this simple monthly choice can make a massive difference. Here are some facts I bet you didn’t know:
Surprised those sanitary pads are about 90% plastic?
The adverts trying to convince you to “trick” Mother Nature or put your period out of your mind, will never tell you that those pads and liners are made from the same sort of plastic as the plastic shopping bags you are advised to avoid in order to protect the environment! We all know plastic is really bad for the environment because it never disappears once it’s made. Terms like “cotton-like” are meant to deceive you into thinking you are using cotton when in fact it is a material made from petroleum.
Pads and liners may also include chemical absorbent gels, latex, chlorine bleached viscose and sometimes even perfumes, but the ingredients of those synthetic perfumes and deodorants will not be listed on the packaging!
Most conventional tampons are bleached with chlorine
Rayon/Viscose fibres are straight and smooth which allows them to shed easily from a tampon allowing small fibres to get left behind inside you, providing an ideal environment for bacteria to colonise. These fibres are predominantly made using chlorine bleaching processes, the by-product of which is dioxin. Residuals of dioxin have the potential to collect in fat cells, accumulating over time, because the body is unable to break it down and excrete it.
Regular cotton is one of the most chemical sprayed crops in the world
If you want to avoid pesticides in your cotton, then you need to use only certified organic cotton because more than 25% of the world’s pesticides are sprayed on regular cotton crops – pesticides have a devastating knock-on effect on biodiversity, threatening species of insect that are really important to our ecosystem, like bees. They can also enter the food chain and even end up in us, causing things like hormone disruption, liver damage and cancers in the worst cases. Almost all other tampon brands use non-organic cotton.
A single pack of conventional pads will contain the same amount of plastic as 4 plastic shopping bags! One girl, One year, 12 packs means that the plastic waste produced would stretch from the base of the Statue of Liberty to the tip of her torch and go on for another 24 feet.
The amount of plastic in a year’s supply of conventional pads for all the women in the world who use sanitary products would wrap a 6 inch (or 16 cm) wide strip of plastic around the earth 770 times!
Or to be a little more surreal, that's enough plastic to wrap every face of everyone on the planet!
Isn't that crazy?
Clearly you can see the choice of feminine hygiene product you make has a massive impact on the earth, even in a short amount of time. This is obviously an issue that is close to our hearts, because Natracare makes products that are designed with full concern for the environment from the source and production of the raw materials to their end of life disposal. This is why Natracare has won so many ethical and environmental awards.
Natracare products are free from petroleum derived plastics, chemicals, super absorbent gels, and free from latex, lubricants, deodorants and perfumes. They are totally chlorine free, sustainably sourced and 95-100% biodegradable and compostable. Natracare pads and liners have only certified organic cotton covers next to the skin and only Natracare tampons are made from certified organic 100% cotton and carry the Soil Association organic seal.
It’s up to you to make your own choice about such a personal thing – all we want to do is give you the choice and some information that might help you make it. If you really want to make your voice heard, tell your friends to join you and sign The Plastic Free Pledge!