It’s no secret that we have a global problem with plastic. Plastic is found in everything, from toothbrushes to straws—but surprisingly to some, it’s even found in feminine care products. When it comes to creating eco-friendly and plastic free pads, tampons, and wet wipes, one brand leads the way.
Natracare has been the trailblazer in the environmental menstrual product industry since it was founded in 1989. In 2018, Natracare launched Plastic Free Periods: a campaign designed to raise awareness around plastic in the world’s mainstream period products. Natracare is led by its campaigning spirit, empowering women to choose period products which are better for their bodies and better for the environment.
The world produces about 400 million metric tons of plastic a year, and feminine care products are a major contributor to this figure. There are over 2 billion womxn of menstruating age living on this planet. And with over 45 billion menstrual products used every year, that’s a lot of plastic waste.
More often than not, mainstream brands of pads and pantyliners contain hidden plastics. An experiment by Natracare found that 1 pack of conventional sanitary pads contained the equivalent of 5 plastic grocery bags.
Tampons can also have plastic within the product. Mainstream tampons commonly are made with either rayon or a viscose-cotton blend, with an overwrap made from polypropylene—the same plastic used to make lunch boxes. Polypropylene does not biodegrade.
Plastic tampon applicators are also a source of considerable plastic pollution. Unfortunately, even eco-minded consumers who are trying to do the right thing by buying so-called ‘plant-based plastic’ tampon applicators are being hoodwinked.
Greenpeace Research Laboratories tested three ‘plant-based’ plastic applicators and found them all to be polyethylene—and chemically identical to applicators sold as normal oil-based plastic. You can read Natracare’s report, Applicators Unwrapped, here.
Speaking in response to the growing popularity of “plant-based plastic” as an eco alternative, Natracare founder Susie Hewson said: “This greenwashing is flagrant abuse of the trust that people put in brands to do the right thing. Brands are purposefully pretending to be environmentally responsible, profiting from people’s desire to make a positive change, but are still littering the planet with persistent plastic waste.”
Plastic isn’t the only issue when it comes to mainstream period products. According to a report published by Women’s Voices for the Earth, many tampons are contaminated with highly toxic dioxins, a by-product of the chlorine bleaching methods used to manufacture pads and tampons. Dioxin exposure can lead to a host of reproductive health issues. To protect women from exposure to unnecessary chemicals, Natracare always makes all of its products gentle by design.
To upgrade to a plastic free period, opt for 100% organic cotton tampons with cardboard applicators and/or organic, biodegradable pads and pantyliners.
Menstrual cups, though also made with plastic, are also a great solution. Since they’re reusable and last multiple years, menstrual cups help reduce the amount of plastic in landfill and oceans.
Beyond your individual impact, we can also fight for positive policy and legislation that demands all period companies to remove plastic from their products. A few great organizations leading the way are 5 Gyres and Turning Green.
Since the beginning, Natracare has been making organic and plastic-free period products. Here are the top sellers our Thrive Market members love.
Made from 100 percent certified organic cotton and sustainably sourced plant-based materials, these tampons are gentle on the planet while being healthier for you, too. The cardboard applicator glides easily and has a rounded, petal-shaped tip to make inserting the tampon more comfortable.
“Natural products are the best! I’m so glad I switched to these easy applications and they work so well!”
Made without any harsh materials like dyes or fragrance, these pads are 100 percent biodegradable and compostable, making them an environmentally friendly choice.
“I am not a tampon fan and these are so comfy I feel like I’m not wearing a pad at all. Highly recommend!”
For light days, mini panty liners are a discreet and breathable way to get the protection you need. Chlorine-free and plastic-free, each liner is made from organic cotton.
“I’ve been using these liners for years. They’re a great product for everyday use between your menstrual days. Love the organic cotton! Very soft as well.”
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