It happens every month. Your period. When you head to the drugstore to restock your monthly supply of feminine products, do you ever wonder what is in the tampons and pads you’re using on your body? What about the impact they are having on our planet? Due to mainstream brands’ lack of transparency and the limited options available, many women have been unknowingly using products that are harmful to their bodies and their environment.
Did you know that in her lifetime, a woman experiences an estimated 450 menstrual cycles and uses over 11,000 feminine products? That’s a total of 20 billion feminine products that end up on our beaches, in our oceans and landfills every year. In addition to the damage to our planet, conventional brands are not required to disclose the ingredients being used, which consist of dangerous chemicals, plastics, adhesives, fragrances and are non-biodegradable. So many of us work hard every day to maintain the health of our body and our planet, shouldn’t our feminine care be a part of these healthy habits? And shouldn’t convenient, non-toxic and biodegradable products be accessible to ALL women everywhere in the world? Thankfully, there are 3 companies who say YES!
4 Period Products That Give Back
In 1989, Susie Hewson founded the world’s first alternative to conventional feminine products, Natracare. After seeing a documentary about the growing danger of Dioxin pollution from pulping industries with the chlorine bleaching of paper products. She was angered and appalled by the unconcerned response of feminine hygiene brands, so she began developing the first ever certified organic cotton tampon and chlorine free pad. Her products are non-toxic plastic free, sustainably sourced, and animal-friendly. Susie is committed to the highest ethical standards and makes sure that everyone they work with from raw materials to processing shares this commitment. They have received an award from The Ethical Company Organization and they are vegan approved by The Vegetarian Society. Natracare is sold on their website as well as in many stores such as Whole Foods, Sprouts and Wegmans.
Natracare has a blog that features important issues concerning woman and our planet. They are currently encouraging their readers to join the Plastic Free July Challenge. During the month of July, participants will explore ways to add plastic-free habits to their routine. Each week you can focus forming a new plastic-free habit. By signing up on the Natracare website, you will have the chance to win a plastic-free kit each week. If reducing plastic waste is something that you are interested in, check out Natracare.com for quality feminine products and read through their blog while you’re there.
Lola was created by Alex Friedman and Jordana Keir. While living in New York, the two young friends realized that they could have just about anything delivered right to their door, except period products. Their initial idea was to bring the convenience of customizable feminine care products to your doorstep. So they began to research and were unable to find ingredient lists for tampons and pads. They were frustrated by the term, “May Contain” they felt that woman had the right to know exactly what was in the products they were buying for their bodies. So they decided to develop feminine products that were non-toxic and made from organic cotton while still giving women the ability to create their own customizable monthly or bi-monthly feminine care package. Lola products are available through their website only where you can create your personalized subscription box.
Millions of women in the United States are forced to make the choice between purchasing essentials for their families and purchasing feminine hygiene products. Alex and Jordana feel that no woman should have to make that choice. Across the US, over 100,000 period products have been donated by Lola.
Cora is a company that was founded by Molly and Morgen. Their mission is to bring organic, non-toxic feminine products to women and girls in need all over the world. While traveling through several developing countries, Molly was saddened by the struggle that women and girls were going through just because they got their period. Because they couldn’t afford tampons and pads, they were forced to miss work and school. Without access to tampons and pads, it’s common for women to use things like rags, newspaper, pieces of old mattress and even animal dung which causes them to suffer infections and can cause reproductive health problems.
So, Molly and Morgen decided that they would develop non-toxic, organic products for woman and use business to fight for gender equality and to education and jobs to woman and girls in need. They partner with organizations in India, Kenya and Denver, Colorado to provide education and business opportunities to women and girls. When you purchase a months supply of Cora’s customizable products on their website, a months supply of pads and health education will be provided to a girl in need.
If you’re looking for a non-disposable option, consider the Ruby Cup, a menstrual cup made with 100% medical grade silicone that can be reused multiple times. Using a menstrual cup dramatically reduces period waste–and it’s fairly simple to use after you get the hang of it. (Here’s a little more about how a menstrual cup works.) For every Ruby Cup purchased, Ruby Cup donates a menstrual cup to a woman or girl without access to feminine hygiene products. Ruby Cup also shares a helpful guide to common period issues here.
That time of the month may not be the most enjoyable, but at least we can use our period products to reduce waste and give to women and girls in need.
Have you tried any of these innovative period products?
Related: This One Thing Could End Period Poverty *And* Make Periods More Sustainable
Save $$$, Help Earth *And* Yourself With These Genius Zero-Waste Period Essentials
6 Ways To Detox Your Period & Embrace Your Flow Like A Wellness Goddess
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Photo: Tracey Hocking on Unsplash, Respective brands