Let’s talk about low waste periods! First things first periods are not just inclusive to just women so when we talk about periods in this blog we shall address as ‘a person with a period’ It’s important to us to recognise that some non-binary and trans people have periods too. However, with this being said, some of the sources we use (those useful facts and stats) might not be as inclusive.
We also want to talk about the importance of supplementing iron whilst menstruating. As many of you know we have our brand new iron gummy coming very soon – a cheeky product placement for you there. Those who have periods need twice the amount of iron than those who don’t!
Why have we called it a ‘low waste’ period rather than a ‘zero waste’ period? Well, it can be difficult for everyone to be completely zero waste. Period poverty is everywhere; even here in the UK, and choosing eco-friendly products in itself is a privilege that we cannot dismiss. Many don’t even have easy access to ‘regular’ period products. So when we say ‘low waste’ we hope it allows those who can afford to be more conscious to make changes, without judging those who aren’t able. Remember that every little helps and a little can go a long way. If you’re here for the ‘low waste’ period guide then scroll on down!
What is period poverty?
Period poverty is a very real human rights issue. Get ready for some facts and figures! ‘Period poverty’ means being unable to access sanitary products and having a poor knowledge of menstruation often due to financial constraints. In the UK, 1 in 10 girls can’t afford to buy menstrual products, while 1 in 7 have struggled to afford them, according to a representative survey of 1,000 girls and young women aged 14-21 by Plan International UK.’ – bodyform. Not having access to menstrual hygiene products not only affects a person’s general wellbeing, but their education too: ‘49 per cent of girls have missed an entire day of school because of their period. ’
According to research found by Period Poverty Taskforce:
- 71% of girls reported that they had felt embarrassed when buying period products,
- 1 in 7 even girls have also admitted that they “didn’t know what was happening” when they started their periods
- 27% of girls have overused a sanitary product as they couldn’t afford a fresh one
Research by Plan International discovered that:
- 79% of girls and young women have experienced symptoms linked to their period that concerned them but they haven’t seen a doctor or health professional
- 27% haven’t seen a doctor or health professional about their concerns because they felt too embarrassed
- 22% in the UK feel comfortable talking about their period with their teacher
- One in 10 girls have been asked not to talk about their periods with their mother
Having access to clean sanitary products should not only be mandatory but, say it with us now, THEY SHOULD BE FREE. Nope not just tax-free, completely free. Or at the very least there should be access to free products for those most in need. This is not only a human rights issue, but fundamental for public health.
What can you do?
Donate: If you are in the position to donate there are numerous places to do so, but a complete end to period poverty is a battle we all must keep fighting for. Period Poverty UK support in the donation of non-toxic period products to help improve period health for those who do not have access to period products.
Did you know: you can donate period products to your local food banks! Donating just one pack of tampons every food shop (or as many as you can) helps massively.
Share: Simply sharing important information can go a long way! You can also write a letter to you local MP to demand that all students have access to free sanitary products in places of education.
Sign: Join the #PeriodRevolution! Sign every petition that comes your way. Here’s a few to get you started:
Recognise period pants as a menstrual product so that they can be taxed fairly
Thinx: National Petition to End Period Poverty
Provide free sanitary products to young women receiving free school meals
End period poverty and stigma: sign the pledge
Menstrual Health and Iron:
Menstrual health is often overlooked which explains why period poverty is still such a major problem. There is still a huge stigma surrounding menstrual health and many of us feel uncomfortable even talking about our monthly cycles. We want to break that stigma a little. Health in general is super important to us and menstruation is no exception. To tackle tiredness, which is a common PMS symptom, it is advised to supplement iron. We’ve all been there: the mood swings are real. You can get iron from food but it may not be absorbed well (especially from plants), and it may not be sufficient to meet your requirements due to blood loss. People who have periods can lose up to half a pint of blood during each menstrual cycle, so there is increased risk of anaemia – especially important for those of us with a heavier cycle.
Supplementing iron can actually improve the regularity of your periods and also helps with heavier cycles by normalising flow! We’re not about to say it’ll cure all period problems but it’s definitely an essential for general period health. With this being said we always advise to never exceed the RDI of iron. Check out our blog post on anaemia for an in depth guide.
Our guide to a low waste period:
Periods might never be completely worry-free, but if you are in the position to choose low waste period products then here’s our top picks! Whatever your period preference we hope this guide is helpful.
- Period Pants
Period pants are great because you just put them on and go. Our friends at @wukawear sell washable, reusable period pants. We must say they’re super cute! Whether your flow is light, medium or heavy they’ve got you covered.
@shethinxx also sell period pants for people with periods, including a variety of colours and styles. Their overall brand ethos is pretty great too.
Lastly, we recommend checking out @modibodi ‘s reusable and sustainable underwear suitable from maternity to teens! Bonus: they have a completely vegan range.
2. Menstrual Cups
It might be a Marmite relationship when it comes to menstrual cups, but if you take the cup pledge and they work for you you’ll definitely never look back. With numerous menstrual cups on the market it can be difficult to choose, but @organicup come in completely plastic free packaging and in three different sizes, so it’s a win-win in our books.
@thedivacup are very similar, with no chemicals, plastics or dyes. They also have a plant-based cleanser to balance out your pH and keep things fresh.
Or if you’re after a cute coloured menstrual cup then @saaltco could be for you! They have a full range of pastel coloured cups and they also sell duo packs.
Top tip: you can use a small amount of water based lube to help with cup insertion.
Okay, @totmorganic are cool because they actually have a reusable tampon applicator. So if you’re a fan of applicators but don’t want to use paper or single-use plastic ones then these are for you. Round of applause for period innovation.
If you’re still very much a tampon person and menstrual cups aren’t for you, don’t fret: @albany_mae and @organicinitiative also have a range of organic cotton period products. Oh, and they’re both low plastic too. Organic cotton is overall softer on the environment (and your private parts).
Last but in no means least we have pads. Sanitary towels are a staple! Even if you’re using a menstrual cup you might still want to have some pads to hand (it’s normal for leaks to happen yahno). Reusable pads simply clip onto your underwear and you can wash them over and over again. @wastelessdesign and @periodaisle both have funky patterned pads, made from the likes of cotton, bamboo or hemp.
Or if you don’t fancy reusable pads @sanature_uk might be for you. Though not completely plastic-free, they do sell toxin-free, organic cotton period products which are hypoallergenic and breathable. Kinder on your skin and the planet.