I was recently asked this question for an interview I did and my simple answer: Disposable period products have a terrible impact on the planet!
Over a 1.5billion menstrual products are flushed down toilets in the UK every year and most of them end up on beaches or in the sea, causing sewer blockages and adding to marine pollution. Used tampons are now the most found items littering beaches which is pretty gross!
Up to 90% of disposable pads are predominantly made from plastic, with one pack containing the equivalent of 4 carrier bags and this doesn't biodegrade so these pads will sit around for hundreds of years; it's crazy to think that if disposable period products had been around from the time of Queen Victoria, or even Elizabeth I, they would still exist on Earth.
The average menstruating person uses an average of 11,000 disposable period products in their lifetime at a cost of around £4,800 per person so you can imagine not only the waste but the COST of disposables and the impact that can have.
But also they have a terrible impact on our bodies: as well as plastic, traditional disposables contain lots of toxic chemicals which can be harmful and even dangerous to our bodies and we're using them in our most intimate areas! They disrupt our body's natural flow and encourage us to bleed and cramp which often makes our periods heavier, longer, and more painful. Around 80% of people report their periods are less painful or shorter within two months of switching to reusables.
I believe reusable products being widely available in shops would help people make the change. But I also think more education around reusables and wider availability would definitely change people's views of alternative period products. Years ago, I was reluctant to make the switch because I didn't know where to buy them, how to care for them, or anyone else who was using them so I didn't really feel I could ask or talk to anyone about it; it was a bit of a taboo subject so it felt like a massive leap to switch to a reusable product.
When I was a teenager nobody even spoke about options other than disposables so it wasn't on my radar until I became more eco-conscious but now cloth pads, period pants, and cups are becoming much more widely accessible and it really helps to start a conversation about reusable products.
I think people are hesitant to change because they have a lot of questions/myths around reusables; how do I clean/wash them, are they expensive, do they smell, how do you use or change them when you're out, and about?
All things period still come with a certain stigma; there's still a sense that we shouldn't talk about our flow, pains, etc. because it's seen as private, unclean, or just something we have to 'put up with.'
But periods are perfectly natural and normal and why shouldn't I want the best period I can have!
I always try to be as honest as I can with people; I'm happy to talk about anything menstrual to help people get a routine or product that works for their lifestyle. For some people that may still be a plastic-free disposable but for many, they realise reusable options will be better for their body, their bank balance, and the planet so it's a no-brainer!
Products could definitely be better advertised so people are more likely to buy them; breaking down these taboos and myths. Having them accessible online and in-store so people can pick them up easily without it being extra effort or embarrassing and having good support in how to use them would all mean people are more willing to give them a try.
Have you given them a go? Check out our range of eco alternatives and try a reusable product today!