Review: Reusable Versus Disposable Sanitary Pads

After researching disposable versus reusable pads, here's an overview of why we think reusable pads are fantastic and why disposable sanitary products should be banned. 

Disposable pads are full of plastic and are so harmful to the environment, in terms of the sheer volume of pollution that they generate, as well as the amount of natural resources used in order to create them. Reusable sanitary pads offer a fantastic and Earth-friendly alternative, and are a perfect addition to your plastic-free period collection. 

Over the years, using disposable options has become the norm for most societies, but when you consider what they're made from and the vast amount of pollution they create, it's flabbergasting that this is so. Since uncovering the truth about disposable sanitary pads, we've been researching the eco-friendly options out there - including the fantastic reusable sanitary pad.

The first disposable sanitary pad is thought to date back to the early 20s', with tampons being introduced in the 30s'. Marketing campaigns at the time promoted the idea that the new products would make menstruators “happy, well-poised, efficient modern women,” free from the tyranny of old “makeshift” alternatives. Decades later, disposable sanitary products have become the norm for most people who probably believe there is no other way to manage their cycles. Disposable sanitary pads are nearly always made using plastic and other toxic materials. They generally feature a leak-proof base, with a synthetic layer that soaks up the fluid and they often come wrapped in individual plastic wrappers. As there is no other way to dispose of them, all used pads are headed for landfill after use where they will sit for centuries to come, polluting our planet and waterways. 

When you consider this, along with how many of these are used each year - it's nothing short of horrifying! Most women will menstruate for about 40 years, bleeding for about five days a month - or about six and half years over the course of a lifetime.  An individual is estimated to use as many as 15,000 pads and/or tampons over this time. In 2019 there were around 3.5 billion females on Planet Earth... just for those women alone, not thinking about those who have been and those who are still to come - that is an insane amount of disposable sanitary products that will sit in landfills around the globe for centuries. Given that landfill sites are a major contributor to global warming, this seriously needs addressing!

When you consider all of this and the disposable nature of these products, it is no surprise that currently  sanitary care is a multi-billion dollar industry (in the US alone, the global feminine hygiene product market size is anticipated to reach USD 33.78 billion by 2025). Perhaps this is why awareness about plastic-free periods is seriously low?

 

If you're looking for an eco-friendly option to managing that time of the month, you needn't look far. There are many fantastic reusable alternatives cropping up every day. We've been testing a variety of products out and will be focusing on growing this category at The Eco Shop this year, to offer our customers a great range of eco-friendly feminine hygiene products. 

The first products to make the cut in our sanitary pad range are the reusable pads and wet bags from Candy Cat Pins. These fantastic products are all machine washable, and they are handmade in the UK out of sustainably-sourced materials.

reusable sanitary pads

Available in gorgeous prints, the pads come in 3 sizes - Liner, Standard and Maxi. They are highly durable and designed to be used time and time again. They are such a worthwhile investment which will save you money within a few months.

Browse Reusable Sanitary Pads Here >>> 

  

We highly recommend purchasing reusable wet bags as well, so that you can easily transport and store clean and used pads. The bags measure approximately 4.5x5cm (sizes will vary by bag, as they are handmade). They are machine washable up o 40c, and they feature a waterproof and odour proof inner lining so you can carry on with your day without feeling self-conscious.

reusable sanitary towel pads wet bags

Browse Reusable Wet Bags Here >>>

 

Using and Caring For Your Pads: 

To use a pad, lie it fleece-side-up in your underwear, and then fasten it to the underneath of your underwear using the poppers. 

reusable sanitary towel padsreusable sanitary towel pads

After light soiling, you can wash pads in the machine with your usual laundry.  After heavy soiling, you might be better rinsing pads in warm water first before adding to your laundry. Pads are best washed without fabric softener at 40c, and then dried on a line or rack or on a low heat.

 

Choosing The Right Pad: 

The Liner pad (click here to view this product) is suitable for light flow, and measures approximately 22cm x 16cm including the wings.  The Standard pad (click here to view this product) is suitable for medium-heavy flow, and measures 25cm x 17cm including the wings. The Maxi pad (click here to view this product) is suitable for very heavy / night flow, and measures 27cm x 17cm including the wings. 

Please note, for handmade pads the actual size will vary as the pads are all handmade, and size may decrease slightly in the first wash. 

 

Materials Used:

The pads are made using PUL (Polyurethane Laminate), Zorb and microfleece. The outer PUL layer is waterproof, and is similar to the material used on reusable nappies. The Zorb fabric is super absorbent, and generally traps moisture 10x it's weight - 20x faster than cotton, bamboo or hemp knits. The microfleece inner fabric is incredibly soft and comfortable against your skin. Wearing one of these pads will feel much nicer than the disposable alternatives! As the materials used contain polyester and other plastic-based materials, the pads are not biodegradable. So need to be disposed of either in the black bin, or clean pads could be placed in mixed fabrics recycling bins where they will be ultra-sterilised before being processed to create new materials. 

 

We had tested the quality and usability of the pads and wet bags, and think they offer a truly outstanding alternative to harmful disposable alternatives. 

If you have any questions about reusable sanitary pads, please don't hesitate to contact us at hello@theecoshopuk.com and we will be more than happy to help.