I have been really uncomfortable as of late about wrapping and throwing away used sanitary napkins. They are filled with plastic, and put into my plastic garbage bag to preserved for time immemorial. I have been taking a look at the products available and will provide a little bit of information about how they work and where you can get them.
Natracare provides a whole line of hygeine products from pads, tampons and panty liners to incontinence pads. Their tampons are made from 100% organic cotton with the option of biodegradable applicators or no applicators. Their pads are made from 95% biodegradable products and are compostable under the right conditions. The moisture barrier in their pads is made from plant cellulose. I haven’t tried this brand, but it is a reasonable price and widely available. They also have a line of nipple shields and post birth pads designed for extra comfort in an understandably sore region. For more information, check out Natracare.com.
Flushaway, an exciting new product line of pads and panty liners that are completely flushable. They have created a cousin to plastic called B-9b film that acts like plastic. They say this film was developed using nanotechnology. When they come in contact with water, they begin to break down and easily flush down the toilet. Once in the sewer system, they breakdown in 71 days. They are supposed to be available at Wal*Mart and KMart, but were not on the Wal*Mart Canada or KMart website. Upon further digging, I discovered that Consolodated Ecoprogress Technology is a Vancouver (my hometown), BC based company, but they have been recently acquired by a Hong Kong company called PayChest Inc. The Flushaway website is currently under construction.
Mooncup is manufactured by the same company that makes The Keeper. It is exactly the same save for what it is made from; a soft, flexible, silicone cup you insert into your vagina to collect menstral blood. The Keeper is made from natural rubber. It needs to be emptied once every 4 to 8 hours dependant upon your flow and comes in two sizes. Fit is determined by the condition of your pelvic floor muscles. One for women who have had a vaginal birth and one for women who have not. The Moon Cup and Keeper can be ordered online at Keeper.com
The Diva Cup is similar to the Mooncup. It was developed in Canada (a plus for me) and is made of silicone; a good alternative to women with latex allergies. The Diva Cup is available at Lunapads.com
Lunapads are 100% organic cotton, reusable cloth pads that come in a variety of funky patterns. Lunapanties are available especially for your period time and designed to be used with the Lunapads. They have extended their product line to some baby products, creams and essential oil blends. These pads were developed in Vancouver (a plus for me!), BC and are available individually or in kits online at Lunapads.com.
Gladrags are a product out of Portland, Oregon similar in concept to Lunapads. They carry a product that I had never seen or heard about before: sea sponge tampons. Exactly as you are probably envisioning, they are a tampon made entirely out of sea sponge and only sea sponge. It comes in one size and you can trim it to the size you need it. They are washable and reusable by following the instructions on the Gladrags website.
Seventh Generation makes environmentally friendly pantyliners, maxipads and tampons (and a whole host of other environmentally friendly products for the home). The pantiliners are not flushable, and go into the garbage, so they are not as good as a reusable pantyliner. The tampons are made from 100% unbleached, organic cotton.
With a wide variety of alternative feminine hygeine products available at a reasonable price, don’t you think we can get rid of the plastic pad in the plastic bag to be unearthed in a million years, with a record of both our DNA and wastefulness?
If you are interested in reading similar articles about how we can consume more responsibly, check out the All Things Eco Blog Carnival.