From an article in The Telegraph:
I’m holding a soft piece of fleecy fabric, mottled dark purple with poppers at the bottom.
"This is the minky,” says Heather Finlay. “You can see how soft it is.”
She’s right. It’s so comforting and tactile I want to rub it against my face. But actually, it’s for the other end of my body.
Welcome to the world of the cloth sanitary pad – or CSP. Cloth pads, as the name suggests, are manufactured from natural, absorbent fabrics such as cotton and bamboo. More significantly, they are washable - and therefore reusable.
Most are brightly patterned, to keep staining to a minimum. Once worn, they are simply rinsed in cold water, and then popped in the wash ready for next time...
Caring for young children removes any squeamishness around bodily functions. Having dealt with the torrent of poo, wee and vomit that is a new born, a bit of menstrual blood doesn’t seem so bad.
And the perks are numerous. The environmental benefits speak for themselves - then there’s the cost. No tampon tax for starters. “Surveys estimate that menstruating costs women around £18,000 over their lifetime,” says Finlay. “Switching to reusables you can save around £8,400”.More at the link. There is a separate Telegraph article for those interested in Mooncups.
A tip of the blogging hat to reader -T, who offered this comment:
One of my girlfriends and her aunt make these for girls in developing countries that have to miss school due to their periods. Here is the site to do this if anyone is interested.From -T's link:
Lack of access to menstrual products affects millions of girls in the developing world. As many as 10% of school-aged girls miss school because of it. The effect of these missed days is devastating, with girls missing up to 20% of their education, thereby increasing the likelihood of dropping out, earlier marriage and pregnancy as well as limiting career options.Also see the other relevant comments in the section below.
The solution is simple: provide school girls with washable menstrual pads and underwear that will last for years. Providing reusable products means the burden of purchasing products each month is removed and the environmental devastation that hundreds of thousands of disposable pads would have on the landscape is alleviated. The case for girl's education is well documented as one of the most important tools for development. We believe that no one should have to miss out on opportunities that will affect their future, simply because they have a period.
Since its inception, in partnership with dozens of groups, individuals, and NGOs, Lunapads has helped provide over 14,000 girls and women in 17 nations with over 85,000 menstrual pads and/or menstrual underwear, giving them an immediate, essential and sustainable means to remain in school or at work.
I've used a cup (divacup) and pads I make at home for about 10 yrs now, and I truly can't imagine why anyone who tried it would go back to the commercial pads or tampons. Bit of a learning curve at first, but after that, amazing. I never soak anything, either, just launder, and the pads come out clean and ready to use. Bits of old tea towel and some nice flannel (either from old jammies or bought new) and a few moments with the serger or sewing machine, and a one time cost for the cup (some people replace over time, but the notion that they need to be bought new annually (which I have heard some people insist) is silly (most are medical grade silicone and are virtually indestructible, and can be boiled before being stored. Truly no downside, no more period emergencies where products fail, no more running out of things, no trips to buy expensive commercial goods, much longer between needing to tend things (can easily be worn all day!). I can't say enough good about cups, even without going into the other things people say about them like cramp reduction and shorter duration, and the much reduced risk of TSS compared to tampons. No wicking, no chafing - I only wish Id tried them 20 yrs earlier!ReplyDelete
"serger" - new word for me.Delete
"Usually an overlock sewing machine will cut the edges of the cloth as they are fed through (such machines being called "sergers" in North America), though some are made without cutters."
You learn something every day. Thanks, D.
Two more comments:ReplyDelete
1) no reason to wait until after childbirth to use these, they are fantastic right from menarche, and it's really not that messy.
2) bamboo fabric is usually a viscose or rayon, made from chemically treated bamboo cellulose, and isn't a "natural" fabric like linen (actually made directly from prepared flax fibre), There are one or two companies that process bamboo directly, but the vast majority of what is labelled "Bamboo" is a rayon product of a chemical process.
thanks for posting this! i am forever advising girls & women about these non-disposable options, which i have used and loved for years. wish i had known earlier. cups, especially, are brilliant once you get the hang of them, and i wish some charities would latch on to the idea of distributing them to women in places where sanitation is challenging and/or where girls are often vulnerable going to latrine areas.ReplyDelete
Totally agree. WAY less water required than for washing pads, no wait time whilst they dry, no worries about hanging them up (some places this is an issue, and I've seen fancy gadgets to spin them dry, etc, but.....), compact and easy to carry or store, and they last for a very long time, so you really probably only need to own one, once. For those who have to walk long distances to school or water, the low number of changes required per day would be a blessing, and no one would be able to tell they were having their menses. Cost-effective, woman-friendly, environment-friendly, and a lot more useful in water-restricted areas. (a cup of water is all that is needed for a full clean, and a few squirts of water at most changes until that point)Delete
Not, sadly, for everyone's geometry. I wanted to make this work, I really tried, but it leaked madly no matter what I did. An umbrella for wind whipped rain coming in sideways.Delete
One of my girlfriends and her aunt make these for girls in developing countries that have to miss school due to thier periods. Here is the site to do this if anyone is interested. http://lunapads.com/pads4girls?geoip_country=USReplyDelete
Excellent, -T. I've moved your comment from the thread here to the body of the post, and have also inserted a link and appended an excerpt from the Lunapads website.Delete
Sweet! I appreciate the help on getting the word out on what they are doing.Delete
What a great couple of ideas! Women used reusable, washable pads for millennia until industry came up with a real money-maker--single-use disposables, which you have to buy monthly.ReplyDelete
Neither of these ideas (cups or cloth pads) is new at all. They've both been used for a long long time, until someone commercialised menstruation (hey, you can get packages of supplies mailed to your house monthly, now. Big campaign aimed at girls around menarche....too bad we don't have a better celebration than a company selling you things to mark the event....And what a way to perpetuate the myth that a 28 day cycle is the norm....(it's actually only true for about 15% of women (let that sink in while you consider that pregnancies are timed using a 28 day cycle....and think about how that affects due dates if your normal cycle is something different (which is likely))...Anyhow, a different set of problems, but still....stepping away from an industrialised solution is a positive thing on many levels.Delete
My husband and I have been doing everything we possibly can to avoid purchasing products manufactured by the Koch brothers in an effort to reduce their financial power over our political process -- their product list includes toilet paper, paper towels, sanitary napkins and tampons, paper napkins, disposable diapers, paper handkerchiefs, plywood, etc. These products have become so pervasive in our lives that it is nearly impossible to avoid enriching the Koch brothers' coffers, but remember, when you purchase those items that the money is used to destroy your political freedom.ReplyDelete
So, anything you can use rather than the "easy, disposable" products helps to increase your power over your political future and that of your children and their children's children. It's not just for people in "third-world" countries, but in our 'first-world" country as well.