If you menstruate, at some point you have most likely thought about just how big the pile of landfill you've created with menstrual products actually is.
Here's a few figures: if you menstruate every month, for say five days ,and frugally use five menstrual products a day, then you're looking at somewhere in the region of 300 products a year.
If you’re in your 30’s, you’re probably looking at a pile of about 5,000 menstrual products at this stage.
On her show, Claire Byrne explained that research shows there is 200,000 tonnes of period products going into landfill every year in Ireland, so this conversation is seriously worth having, with yourself.
Linnea Dunne, a journalist and podcaster on women’s health, titled Bits of Me, spoke with Claire about eco-friendly ways of managing your period.
With a heavy flow, Linnea says she has struggled with regular tampons and pads – always needing a combo of both, and never really got on well with menstrual cups. However, she gave period pants a try and says she will never go back.
Basically they’re like hybrid pants: they look like ordinary underwear but they have period absorbing technology in the gusset. They come with a fairly hefty price tag from €7 a pair in Penney’s to €30 a pair for some of the very fancy pants from Nixxworld or ModiBodi.
So, do they actually work? Yes, when worn correctly.
Linnea explained that she wore the wrong pair on her first day wearing them which led to some issues. Since then she has been sure to match the absorbency of her pants with her flow and hasn't had a repeat occurrence since.
Claire then moved the conversation on to the stickier issue of how to clean them. According to Linnea, it’s as simple as rinsing them under a tap and then sling them into the washing machine and you’re done.
Linnea told Claire that had she had access to these pants in her teens it would literally have been a game changer. Teenage girls are so self conscious of having a leak when being active, that it’s sometimes a deterrent from taking part.
And then there are those who just cannot tolerate wearing products due to sensory issues:
'’I’ve heard of parents who have daughters with autism with sensory issues […] who have said that the experience of having to wear plastic, you know a pad inside your knickers, not just managing that in school […] being able to just have your knickers looking after that for you, they don’t feel any different, they are soft, it’s cotton. That can be such a positive experience for those people for whom that’s really difficult."
Now, it’s fair to say that these products are not cheap, however, when you consider your personal impact on the environment, the comfort of feeling that you’re just wearing knickers, not to mention your bank balance over the long term, it might just be time to hang up the aul tampons and try something new.