The conversation around waste and reducing our carbon footprint is constantly evolving, and for some, the transition to a more eco-conscious lifestyle has been a no-brainer (hands up if you also can’t do life without your keep cup). While the focus has largely been targeted towards shifting our diets and eliminating single-use plastics in day-to-day life, only recently have plastic-free periods been attracting attention on a larger scale.
As we learn more about our bodies and what they need whilst we’re bleeding, there are more menstrual products on the shelves than ever before. And while more choice is a good thing, not every option is so great for the planet. The numbers speak for themselves; sanitary products are the fifth most common item found on Europe’s beaches, and the Women’s Environmental Network estimates that there are around nine plastic applicators and 23 sanitary pads for every kilometer of a beach in the UK. Considering that the average menstruator has roughly 480 periods in their lifetime — and most sanitary products come wrapped in single-use plastic — that’s an awful lot of plastic pollution to account for.
Luckily, the growing demand for zero-waste and plastic-free period products is being met. An innovative range of reusable and plastic-free alternatives has surfaced, driving the collective global shift to plastic-free periods. It’s a win-win all around: by eliminating plastic (and other nasty chemicals) from our period products, we protect our beautiful globe and our beautiful bodies.
Always wanted to have a more eco-friendly period but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered — plastic-free, bullsh*t-free periods are what we live for. Here’s three easy ways you can kick plastic period pollution to the curb for good.
Plastic-free tampons & pads
As our understanding of sanitary waste grows deeper, thousands of menstruators all over the world have turned away from disposable sanitary products altogether. Luckily, between the ever-popular menstrual cup and the wide range of period underwear, there’s a growing selection of game-changing plastic-free alternatives that accommodate every budget and flow. But for others (myself included) tampons and pads remain a comforting go-to.
If you’re looking to reduce plastic waste, but can’t bear to part with the tampons and pads you know and love, we’re here to tell you that you can go completely plastic-free without giving them up. ohne’s tampons and pads are made from 100% organic cotton and absolutely nothing else. Forget plastic, bleach, toxins and any nasty chemicals. What’s more, our products are GOTS [global organic textile standard] certified, meaning all of our processes from start to finish are sustainable — from farming practices to pay wages to the way our products are physically made and shipped. And don’t forget the packaging, one of the toughest places for brands to cut out plastic. We’ve made it one of our biggest priorities at ohne to cut out plastic from our packaging, and we’re super proud to say that your ohne goodies come delivered in a biodegradable, compostable package.
Plastic-free pain relief
Remember when UCL announced that period pain was as painful as a heart attack in 2018? We don’t have to tell you that period pain is no joke. For those who suffer from intense menstrual cramps, your period sees you transform into a serial pill-popper with a bin full of plastic paracetamol packets every month. Good news: there’s an abundance of plastic-free pain relief alternatives for you to try out.
If you gravitate towards heat during your period, try substituting your go-to disposable heat patches for a hot water bottle, tens unit or even a nice warm bath filled with a muscle-relieving CBD bath bomb. You can also try popping a few drops of ohne’s soothing yin & tonic in your morning tea or opt for a topical CBD remedy like ohne’s holy cramp oil. Not only are these tonics an effective, nourishing alternative, they’re also a lot easier on the stomach than the painkillers you usually reach for. Of course, these may not completely replace the over-the-counter painkillers altogether — but continued use may mean fewer pills and less plastic waste overall.
Eco-friendly, plastic-free period snacks
Between the cramps, nausea, and irritability, it’s easy for your period symptoms to eclipse…well, everything. Any carefully laid plans to reduce your crisps intake or stay away from fast fashion retail therapy may fall to the wayside in favour of whatever gets you through the week. And who can blame you? Here at ohne we’ll never discourage any period-haver to refrain from indulgence (because if you can’t indulge when you’re literally shedding the lining of an organ, then when can you?). But even small swaps can mean your periods have less of a negative impact on the planet, and more of a positive impact on your body.
Doing some research into healthier, plant-based/plastic-wrapper-free alternatives to the junk food you’re craving can mean you feel more nourished and less bloated (what a perfect time to shamelessly plug the delicious and plastic-free wrapped CBD bliss bar).
So, is having a plastic-free period as easy as it sounds? The short answer is: yes, if you’re willing to make the conscious effort. We’ll leave you with one final static for you to really rally behind plastic-free periods: one store bought tampon takes 500 years to decompose, whereas an ohne tampon decomposes in just 3-6 months. In honor of Earth Day this year, let’s do everything we can to help our gorgeous globe stay as beautiful and green as can be. period.
image credit: @Ashley Armitage