Can we talk "Plastic Free July" for a moment?
July is fast approaching and the #plasticfreejuly will be trending all over social media. We will be bombarded with plastic free product adverts enticing us to buy the latest reusable or even single use products that are "plastic free" but is all as it seems?...
Are reusable menstrual products really plastic free or do they contain hidden plastics?
Well, this is something that frustrates me incredibly. I feel strongly that the consumer should not be miss led about the contents of the products they buy and so I felt it important to write this blog post. I hope that this will help you with your journey in to becoming zero waste, help you understand the products you use better and not become a victim of Green Washing.
Many people are being led to believe that cloth pads and period pants are plastic free, but I am going to be straight here and say generally they are not, including my own Lady Days products. I know right, confusing isn't it, because there are so many adverts saying otherwise.
So where is the plastic?
The plastics can be found in some of the fabrics used for making cloth pads and period pants and in the poppers. For e.g. Lady Days period pants are 95% natural fibres however they contain either a fleece layer which is polyester (essentially plastic) or a PUL layer which stands for polyurethane laminate (a plastic waterproofing material). There are period pants on the market that are mainly made from nylon which is a thermoplastic, they have PUL layer in them and essentially contain 95% plastic yet they are being advertised as "plastic free"
This is also happening with reusable cloth menstrual pads. This seems to be very prevalent with regards to cheap, mass produced imported pads from china. People are being miss led about these pads and told that they are plastic free. There is a small minority out there that are plastic free which is amazing but the majority are not and in the case of the cheap imports they are nearly 100% plastic. Cloth pads that contain fabrics such as microfleece, microfiber, PUL and polyester fleece all contain plastic and lets not forget the little plastic poppers that close the wings are also plastic resin.
Why are plastics in reusable menstrual products?
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not against products made of these man made fabrics. Although I use natural and organic fibres as much as possible, I do use some of these fabrics such as polyester fleece (windpro) and PUL to make Lady Days products. Why? because they are perfect for the job they are required to do. Fleece and PUL are water resistant or water proof whereas natural and absorbing fabrics are not. A water resistant layer is required for performance to prevent any leaking. Reusable products are the way forward and we need to understand that not all plastics are evil and that some plastics play a huge roll in reducing waste created from single use plastics.
Great quality reusable cloth menstrual pads like Lady Days will last for 10 years plus compared to their single use counterpart that's in the bin after just one use. That is a huge reduction in plastic waste being sent to landfill. Also, when a cloth pad has reached the end of its life, it can be recycled with fabric/textile waste so no need for them to reach landfill at all.
Stop the "Green Washing"
What I am against is people being miss led by the false advertisement of products and companies not being transparent about what is in their products. Advertising products as plastic free when they are not, all in the name of profits. As a company manufacturing and selling ethical products, I feel it is very important to advertise and inform people about my products in an ethical manor.
I love this mantra from Plastic Free July "choose to refuse single use plastic" and would encourage everyone to check out their website. Their website is full of information and resources to help you make good informed choices on your journey into Zero Waste and reducing your use of single use plastics.
SAY NO TO SINGLE USE PLASTICS AND DITCH THE DISPOSABLES!