Benefits of Switching to Reusable Period Pads
Taking the leap of faith from standard disposable sanitary pads and tampons to reusable pads might seem like a tricky one at first. But, once the benefits of switching to reusable pads are broken down bit by bit, it’s easy to see why so many are making the transition.
Reusable pads aren’t just a win for the environment, they’re a win for your body too…and for your purse, and for women living in period poverty.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the many benefits of switching to reusable pads.
1. Reusable Pads Benefit the Environment
An estimated 1.4 million disposable period pads are thrown away each day in the UK alone. They’re the fifth most likely piece of rubbish to end up on our beaches.
You can only imagine how insane these figures are when scaled up worldwide – an estimated 45 billion menstrual products end up in the rubbish every year. The problem is, disposable period pads are only disposable by name and not by nature – they actually take as long as 800 years to fully degrade.
Disposable pads actually contain a shocking amount of plastic and numerous other synthetic compounds, many of which are harmful to health. As they degrade, they leak these toxic compounds into the environment and guess where else? More on that in a moment…
The alternative? Reusable pads. An average menstruating woman uses up to 15,000 disposable pads or tampons in their life. Reusable pads can last several years. It’s not about making women feel guilty about their menstrual choices, but being realistic that there is still a choice to make.
2. Fight Period Poverty
Even now, in the 21st century, period poverty remains a global problem that affects the lives of women and girls every day, everywhere. Half a billion women and girls live in period poverty each month and according to UNICEF, some 2.3 billion women worldwide still don’t have access to basic sanitation services.
Here in the UK, according to Action Aid, as many as 1 in 10 girls are unable to afford proper sanitary wear and 1 in 7 have struggled to afford proper sanitary wear. The trouble with sanitary wear is that the ongoing cost is relentless.
Reusable pads have long been considered a valid tool in the fight against period poverty. Once reusable pads are provided, it’s simply a matter of maintaining them. Reusable pads can last some 5 years or longer – there’s a single one-off cost but that’s it. Once reusable pads are donated to a community, they can help lift them out of period poverty for the long term.
3. Reusable Pads Are Clean and Sanitary
One of the major myths surrounding reusable pads is that they’re dirty, unsanitary or even dangerous. Gynaecologist Dr Anne Henderson told Women’s Health Mag that reusable pads are just as sanitary as any pad, regardless of the fact they’re washed and reused. She says simple hygienic cleaning is required, but nothing too special.
After all, we safely wash and reuse all other pieces of clothing – would we not all be wearing disposable underwear if it was unsafe to wash and reuse it just because of its close proximity to our genitalia?!
4. The Cost of Menstruation
You don’t need to be in period poverty to experience the cost of sanitary products. Over a woman’s average menstrual lifetime, she may spend in excess of £5,000 on sanitary products.
A yearly expenditure of £200 is pretty common and all those £200s add up.
£5,000 over 20 years or so is no small fee for menstruation – a natural process over which women have no choice! Switch to reusable pads and save thousands.
5. Reusable Pads Benefit the Body
Ever wonder what goes into disposable pads and tampons? One study into the contents of major disposable pads brands discovered a whole host of harmful chemicals, many of which are listed by the WHO as carcinogenic. This prompted a media backlash, with many women condemning pad manufacturers as putting profits before women’s health. Others argued that the traces of these chemicals are negligible. As Very Well Health admits; “we simply don’t know”.
Is that really good enough, though? What we do know is that reusable pads offer a safer alternative. Organic cotton pads are better for the body – the chemical gunk they put in disposable pads is merely a marketing tactic anyway.
6. Charities Support Reusable Pads
The benefits of reusable pads are rock solid at an individual, societal and global scales.
Numerous charities and women’s rights groups support reusable pads and their benefits for women, the community and the environment.
Some reusable pad providers even donate a pack of pads to women in need for every pack you buy from them. It’s a simple yet effective way to help people – why should anyone suffer from menstruation in the 21st-century?
Sure, the disposable sanitary wear industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but reusable pad usage is continuing to climb as more women make the switch.
The more, the merrier. The more, the better for girls, women and the environment.
Summary: The Benefits of Switching to Reusable Period Pads
The benefits of reusable pads are clear, which is why so many women are making the transition. Whilst the prospect might seem a little strange at first, most of the drawbacks are often exaggerated.
If you’ve never tried it then just give it a go – what’s the worst that can happen?