After a woman reaches puberty, the uterus follows a natural process of shedding the tissue buildup from its lining once every month. This monthly occurrence comes in the form of bleeding, otherwise known as menstruation.
Over the years, many products have been created to make this experience more hygienic and comfortable.
However, there is still a stigma surrounding this bodily function and the products associated with it. Not to mention, these sanitary items, as it turns out, create harm towards their users and the environment.
Governments and organizations continue to implement different ways to empower women and girls, especially to address the issues concerning women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Fortunately, where their initiatives lack, businesses and content creators strive to fill the gap.
And this video will give you an overview of why and how sustainable and reusable period products are on the rise among today’s eco-conscious consumers.
The Stance on Women’s Health
Women have always had periods, and yet after many centuries past, it continues to be a topic people are reluctant to discuss. The discourse on menstruation and menstrual hygiene are pivotal issues for gender equality, human rights, and development.
To this day, in many countries, there is still menstruation mismanagement amongst women due to social restrictions, beliefs, and myths from limited or incorrect knowledge and information.
Thus, there are significantly poor facilities at school, at work, and in public spaces for women to manage their period. So, most of them tend to do their business at home.
Also, with a lack of access to safe and hygienic materials, women often resort to washing their menstrual clothes in private and dark locations, which does not guarantee complete cleanliness or germ-free, and that, in turn, can cause infection.
Over 25 years ago, many countries began to commit to better their efforts towards women empowerment and gender equality.
While there have been leaps and bounds compared to the state of gender equality centuries ago, no state has reached full equality yet, and the imbalance continues to affect the lives of many women.
More reforms and initiatives need to be passed to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women if they are ever to reach their full potential. Breaking the societal discrimination surrounding periods is essential to empower the physical integrity and human rights of women and girls.
In truth, menstruation is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a sign of female health and vitality. So it begs the question of why this is an issue, to begin with.
Why Many Do Not Talk About Periods
Even in these times, talking about menstruation remains a taboo subject, especially for younger girls. This silence has created a negative impact on these girls. As a consequence, they miss out on school and life opportunities and suffer health implications.
Speaking about periods becomes especially difficult for girls living in a single-parent family with their father or paternal guardian. They may find it too embarrassing to ask about their menstruation or sanitary products.
Another reason is the financial aspect. There are families in tight monetary situations, so these young women do not ask for period products knowing that their parents cannot afford them.
It comes down to choosing food and warmth over sanitary pads. Some rough sleepers have even resorted to stealing tampons and getting arrested (because they were given food instead of money).
Fortunately, there are now several foundations and companies around the world that organize dignity drives. Some of these organizations include Helping Women Period, PERIOD, and The Pad Project.
Their initiatives focus on getting period packs out to women and girls in need and normalizing the discussion of the menstrual cycle.
The Rise of Sustainable Period Products
The average woman has menstruation for about 40 years, bleeding on an average of five days per month. Totally, that equates to six and a half years. These period fluids need to go somewhere, which is why pads and tampons were created.
But these solutions are temporary, needing disposal after a few hours of use.
All those products (around 8,000 to 17,000 tampons and pads for a lifetime’s cycle, to be exact) are bound to accumulate somewhere, and those plastics will live on 500 years more in landfills and oceans. In the U.S., alone, approximately 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons end up discarded.
The traditional make of these sanitary products are often of rayon, BPA, and fragrances, or non-organic cotton and bleached with chlorine. Over time, the production of these items turns out to be more harmful than good.
These non-degradable materials and synthetic ingredients negatively impact users and the environment, and many are not even conscious as most companies do not have to disclose the make of their products.
In a conventional pad, it is estimated to be made up to 90% plastic, or that menstrual pad is equivalent to 4 plastic bags . When it comes to tampons, the strings and plastic applicators are both made of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
Given the increasing awareness of the youth towards healthier consumerism, their spending power has influenced companies to develop cleaner and greener products that lean towards sustainability.
This consciousness has led some brands and influencers to take a stance, not only in breaking the stigma with menstruation but also on the sanitary products to pass user and eco-friendly criteria.
In response, brands and influencers have turned to sustainable lifestyle blogging tactics to emphasize the importance of content in empowering women.
Some of the most successful women’s health and lifestyle blogs include the following:
This page is a resourceful guide, explaining menstruation and all issues surrounding it for women and girls.
This blog imparts tips on cleaning and choosing a menstrual cup to make the lives of menstruating people around the world easier.
This blog shares information on saving money, helping the environment, and making healthy choices for the body when switching to reusable menstrual products.
A community on Reddit that provides information on Emotional Support, PMS relief tips, Period RageComics, Diva Cup/Menstrual Cup Support, and Cloth Pad Info.
An initiative of Dutch editor/journalist Paula Kragten, focusing on menstruation education and information.
Thanks to these efforts, starting an eco-friendly lifestyle is easier, with more eco-friendly and organic menstrual products hitting the shelves in recent years. All these innovations present different ways to empower women and girls.
Environmental-Friendly Period Products in the Market Today
Many brands are coming up with promising period product variants free of chemicals, pesticides, and allergens from napkins, tampons, cups, and panties.
Here are some of those brands, along with their products and advantages:
1. TOP: The Organic Project
Based in Duxbury, TOP is led by two women leaders to bring awareness to organic period products as traditional ones are not mandated to disclose their entire list of ingredients.
The company primarily sells 100% organic cotton, plant-based, and eco-friendly tampons and pads in the hopes of empowering young girls at the onset of their menstruation.
Apart from their product subscription, teenagers could take advantage of their First Period Box, which includes items they would need (even fun stickers and inspirational cards) to make their first experience less daunting.
2. Oi: Organic Initiative
In its efforts to remove plastics, synthetics, toxins, and chemicals from hygiene products, this New Zealand company started its “revolution in a box,” selling organic feminine hygiene products for daily use.
It has since gone mainstream in 2018, having retailers from several supermarkets, pharmacies, and health stores.
The brand has a great product range from pure, 100% certified organic cotton tampons, pads and panty liners, and the reusable Oi Cup. It even has a separate line for teens and adults, respectively.
From manufacturing to packaging, it is committed to only producing biodegradable and environmentally responsible products.
Each of us has our own preferences and our own body to listen to, so tell us what your go-to is for period products! Maybe you’re looking to try something different? Let us know in the comments 🤩— Organic Initiative (@Oi4me) August 30, 2020
You can now find our pads and all sizes of the Zero Waste Cup online at Targe pic.twitter.com/MiwkOevsMv
3. The DivaCup
A mother and daughter in California decided to team up to create DivaCup – a better, more comfortable, and environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional tampons and pads.
The cup comes in three models; each model’s design caters to a different age bracket (18 and younger, 19 to 30, and those over 30).
The name emphasizes the product’s high standards (not high maintenance) and the fearlessness and confidence it brings out in every woman who uses it.
In lieu of its mission, the company gained its B Corp certification, a platform that holds businesses accountable to remain as a force of good for its customers, the community, and the planet.
They have even launched Pandora’s Box – a podcast that covers how periods affect the lives of women around the globe.
The group behind this company initially had their first period product startup, Sanitary Owl, but soon realized they were delivering items wrapped in plastic, nestled in plastic applicators.
After much research on plastic, synthetic ingredients, and their impact on the environment, the team left the toxic industry behind. This turnaround brought about a company selling sustainable, accessible, and acceptable period products.
Their line consists of tampons, pads, accessories, and their most famous product — the award-winning reusable tampon applicator. The last item makes periods more comfortable with its award-winning design, made of medical-grade Sanipolymers, which is self-sanitizing and lasts a lifetime.
They also have their stories page on site, tackling period stories to remove the shame behind them, and annually release their Impact report, detailing the effects of plastic on the environment.
Around 2013, three friends get together to create washable, reusable underwear with the aim to break the period taboo.
With their experience of gnarly period accidents and their knowledge that millions of girls miss out on school because of their monthly cycles, the famous brand Thinx was born.
These panties come in several styles (such as boyshorts, hi-waist, hip-huggers, and thongs) and materials (classic, organic, and micro mesh fabric). Each variety can absorb up to 3-5 regular tampons’ worth of menstrual fluid.
They also sell some sleep and workout apparel (like shorts and leggings), so its customers never have to worry about leaks.
To further their cause, they also came up with GiveRise, – an initiative that covers access to puberty education, grassroots activism, and donation drives.
The importance of content in empowering women has never been more prevalent compared to years past.
And while there is still an underlying stigma surrounding menstruation and the use of period products, the initiative of many brands and influencers show us how far society has evolved with women’s issues.
And thanks to the increasing awareness of environmental health and sustainability, starting an eco-friendly lifestyle is becoming more accessible than ever.
Many companies and content creators have come up with successful women’s health and lifestyle blogs promoting eco-friendly and organic menstrual products that are beneficial for both women and the world.
Positioning your business in the same light is not as difficult as you would imagine. Our agency can help you create stellar content to advocate your brand as a positive game-changer in the women’s lifestyle and beauty industry. Reach out to us today.
Header Image Source: Photo by Monika Kozub on Unsplash
How did you like May Thawdar Oo’s blog post “Safe and Sustainable Alternatives to Traditional Period Products”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for beauty content marketing blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂