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The Issues

  • It is estimated that between 1.5 -2 billion single-use period products are flushed down toilets each year - 4.6 million every single day! Apart from being harmful to marine life, disposable products flushed down the toilet contribute to another problem – fatbergs. Fatbergs are huge masses of period products, wet wipes, nappies, fats and oils. Every year the UK spends about £100m clearing an estimated 300,000 fatbergs.

  • 10% of sewage related debris on beaches is composed of period pads, liners/backing strips, tampons, and applicators. Switching to reusables means much less waste.

  • Many period products can contain up to 90% fossil-fuel based plastic. Most tampons contain plastic too (not just the applicator but the absorbent part too).

  • Non-organic disposable period products can contain toxic industrial chemicals like BPA, dioxins, pesticides, bleach and fragrances - manufacturers don’t legally have to state what is in their products.

  • During lockdown 30% of girls in the UK aged 14-21 years struggled to afford or access period products. With reusables, they are always available.

  • Each period can cost on average £10, that’s £130 a year and £4940 over a lifetime. In comparison, a menstrual cup costs around £20 and lasts up to 10 years offering an enormous saving.

  • Women and people who menstruate use more than 11,000 disposable menstrual products in their lifetime – based on an average of 38 years of menstruating using 22 items of menstrual products per cycle, with 13 cycles per year.

  • More figures and a raft of resources are available on the WEN fact sheet and more information can be read on the WEN Environmenstrual website

  • Reusable menstrual products have a lower environmental impact than single-use menstrual products.  Especially the reusable menstrual cup is substantially better for the environment than other product options. (Menstrual products and sustainable alternatives report 2021 - Life Cycle Initiative)

Learn more about the benefits of reusable period products and options available in our video (Duration: 1 hour 6 minutes)

The video discusses what products are out there now and how using these will help reduce the waste and environmental damage of standard products.

This video was recorded before the discount scheme was launched.

Reusable Period Products


The most common three options are washable period pants, pads and liners and menstrual cups. Within each of these categories, there are a wealth of choices with something to suit everyone.


Have a child in nappies?

 

Period Pants

Period pants are simply a pair of knickers with an absorbent inner panel. They come in all shapes, styles, sizes and absorbencies. They are a particularly good option for young people and those who don’t want to use an internal product.


Period pants by Flux

(Credit: FLUX Undies)


How long can you wear period pants for?

This depends on your flow and the style you choose. For example, some pairs of briefs hold two tampons worth of blood, some full briefs hold up to five tampons worth of blood. Check with the manufacturers and read online reviews. Depending on your flow and the style, one pair should last about 12 hours.

Are period pants unhygienic?

No. Period pants are super-absorbent and sweat-wicking to keep you clean and dry. Research has shown that additives designed to neutralise bad odours and bacteria are largely ineffective and not needed if pads and pants are changed frequently. More information about period pants can be found on the Wen Environmenstrual website

How do I wash them?

Simply rinse under the cold tap, then add them to your usual dark wash on a 30 to 40 degree cycle. Some brands recommend washing on a cold cycle instead. Always check the leaflet or manufacturer’s website for instructions.

Don’t use fabric softener, as this can affect the absorbency of the product over time. Using a delicates bag can help make them last even longer. Let them air dry before using them again.

Are period pants good for incontinence?

Yes. If you suffer from continence problems, period pants are an effective and sustainable way to prevent leaks and keep you comfortable and dry.

Where can I buy them?

Online: Wuka, Thinx, Mobi, Flux, Earthwise, The Period Lady and many more.

In Store: Primark, M&S, Sainsburys, Victoria’s Secret and more.

Grab a HERTS discount: apply for 15% off with our partnering suppliers if you’re a Herts resident

 
 

 
 

Pads and liners

There’s a huge choice of reusable pads and liners on the market from big brands to local businesses and sellers on Etsy. They are a shaped pad with wings that popper around your pants similar to a disposable period pad.

Don’t use fabric softener, as this can affect the absorbency of the product over time.

They come in a huge range of designs, materials and sizes from liners to super maxi. Along with period pants, they are a great option for those who don’t want to use an internal product.

Period pads

(Credit: TPL)

 
How long can I wear reusable pads for?

This really varies depending on your flow and the absorbency you choose but will be similar to disposable pads. Most people will probably need to change around every four to five hours. Many brands sell wet bags so you can pop used pads in there until you get home.

How do I wash them?

Simply rinse under the cold tap, then add them to your usual dark wash on a 30 to 40 degree cycle. Some brands recommend washing on a cold cycle instead. Always check the leaflet or manufacturer’s website for instructions.

Don’t use fabric softener, as this can affect the absorbency of the product over time. Using a delicates bag can also help make them last even longer. Let them air dry before using them again.

Grab a HERTS discount: apply for 15% off with our partnering suppliers if you’re a Herts resident

 
 

 
 

Menstrual Cups

These are possibly the most sustainable option out there as you only need one product which can last for up to 10 years. Again they come in different shapes and sizes.


Menstrual cups by TPL

(Credit: TPL)

 
How long can you leave a cup in?

This depends on your flow but generally they can be left in for between 6 and 12 hours (check with the manufacturer), compared with 4-8 hours for a tampon so they are great for out and about, at work/school and at night.

Are menstrual cups unhygienic?

No. Menstrual cups are very hygienic as you sanitise it between periods and wash between uses. Always wash your hands before handling the cup and follow the manufacturer’s guidance for proper cleaning.

How do I empty it?

To remove the cup, wash your hands first, then pinch the base of the cup to break the seal and gently pull to remove it. It’s generally best to do this over a toilet. Then empty the blood into the toilet. If you have access to a sink, wash it under the tap and reinsert. If you’re out and about, you can either take a bottle of water into the toilet cubicle or just use toilet paper to wipe it. You can give it a proper clean when you get home.

How do I sterilise the cup between periods?

You can either boil it in water for a few minutes or use a sterilising cup which you fill with water and put in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. Check the information in the leaflet or manufacturer’s website for more information.

Where can I buy them?

The Mooncup is the only brand that is manufactured in the UK and is made from medical grade silicone. It comes in Size A for those over 30 or have given birth vaginally, or Size B for those under 30 who have not given birth vaginally.

There are many other cups on the market. The Period Lady is a UK business and has a great selection and offers advice on choosing the right cup for you.

Grab a HERTS discount: apply for 15% off with our partnering suppliers if you’re a Herts resident


How menstrual cups work

A menstrual cup is a flexible cup that’s designed for use internally during your period to collect blood. The cup doesn’t absorb your flow like tampons so there’s a much lower risk of toxic shock syndrome.

Most cups are made of medical grade silicone or rubber.

Advantages of using a cup

  • Lower cost - cups are designed for long term use, most will last years providing a significant cost saving over tampons and pads.
  • Less landfill waste - Since you reuse them there is less waste to clog up drains or to be sent to landfill and fewer trees cut down to make paper based alternatives.
  • No odour - fluid doesn’t get exposed to air like with pads.
  • Easy to use - Simply fold it so it looks like a tampon, aim it towards the back of the vagina and give it a little push, much like inserting a non-applicator tampon. Most manufacturers have excellent guides on their websites.
  • Unlike tampons, cups don’t absorb blood, they collect it meaning they won’t dry your vagina like tampons do. This helps to protect against infections as well as toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
  • Can be more practical for some activities such as swimming and other water sports
  • They can be worn for up to 12 hours (check with the manufacturer) so can be left in all day with little need to change them in public bathrooms or when nowhere near a toilet.



 
 

 
 

Menstrual Discs

Where a menstrual cup sits very low in the vaginal canal, a disc sits much higher up, just below the cervix. A disc is flatter in shape and can be worn during sex.

 
How do they work?

Hold between your thumb and forefinger to squeeze and insert it by gliding it back and down towards your tailbone, then push the front rim to tuck it up. The Disc is flat and held in place naturally so there is no suction. To remove, simply untuck the front rim and gently pull out.

How do you clean them?

Check for information with the supplier and follow instructions. You should clean your disc before the first use of every cycle by placing it in boiling water for 5 minutes to sterilise. Wash it each time you empty it before re-inserting.

How long can I wear it for?

You can wear menstrual discs for up to 12 hours and they hold up to 4 tampons worth of period blood. However please check instructions and recommendations from the supplier.

Where can I buy one from?  

Online: Nixit, The Period Lady, Lumma, Intimina.

Grab a HERTS discount: apply for 15% off with our partnering suppliers if you’re a Herts resident

 
 

 
 

Reusable tampon applicators

If you’re not quite ready to make the switch to reusables but want to move away from disposable applicator tampons, you can buy reusable applicators.

 
How do they work?

They work in the same way as regular tampon applicators, you purchase tampons without applicators and simply insert the tampon into the reusable applicator and use as normal. Once used, simply dispose of the tampon in a bin (never flush them), then wash the applicator and put it away for next time.

How long does it last?

While you need to change your tampon every 4 – 8 hours, the reusable applicator can last up to 10 years.

Where can I buy them?

Online: Dame, Lil-lets

Grab a HERTS discount: apply for 15% off with our partnering suppliers if you’re a Herts resident

 
 

 
 

Other options

If reusable items are not for you, there are still ways you can make changes. organic single use disposals are available Which reduce the chemical content of your products, better for your body and the environment once they are disposed of.


 
 



Supplier information

We've teamed up with these great suppliers to offer Hertfordshire residents an exclusive 15% discount off a range of sustainable period products.

Apply for your discount today

 

 


Eco Femme

15% off all pad products. Excludes Cup, Cup Kits, Soap and EcoBebe. Valid until Feb 2023.

Eco Femme is a woman-led social enterprise offering soft, comfortable washable pads made with GOTS certified organic cotton.

They have been leading the way on reusable pads for over a decade.
For every pad bought, they give one pad to a girl in India, offering a choice to girls during menstrual education sessions.

 
 


FLUX Undies

15% off all products.

FLUX undies create innovative products combining style with function.

Designed with sustainability in mind, their products provide a solution to wasteful habits while offering comfortable period care. As well as being kind to the earth, they donate to charity for every purchase made.

 


Mooncup

15% off Mooncup® size A or size B.

Mooncup® is the original, multi-award-winning menstrual cup.

Designed by women and made in the UK to the highest quality standards, the reusable Mooncup offers an end to the plastic waste, discomfort and expense of traditional disposable sanitary protection. 

Over almost 20 years, Mooncup® users have diverted over 2.7 billion tampons and pads from the waste stream.

 
 


Sugar and Scoop

15% off all reusable period wear. Multi-use code over 12 months.

Sugar and Scoop is a family run business and have personally tried and tested the reusable products that they sell.

We are a zero waste refill and eco-lifestyle shop in Ware, Hertfordshire with a mission to reduce waste that goes to landfill.

We want to share these with Hertfordshire residents so that we can all do our bit to help the environment.

 
 


The Period Lady

15% off all products.

The Period Lady specialises in menstrual products, stocking a wide range of pads, cups, discs, period pants, tampons.

Check their many advice articles to help you find the right products for you, or complete their online form to receive free product recommendations.

 
 


Cheeky Pants

15% off all products.

Cheeky Pants are dedicated to making reusables simple and the norm. We have an extensive range of period and incontinence products to suit all flows, ages and needs.

Our experienced Customer Services team are on hand to answer questions, offer advice and give personal recommendations in response to our questionnaire.

Give them a go! Our 90 day trial allows you to try one pair of pants or a pad with a money back guarantee if they aren’t right.

 

 


NORA

NORA Reusable Pad

NORA – No Ordinary Rules Apply

15% off all products, excluding sale items

With over 21 years’ experience in reusable products NORA pads are slimline, comfortable against the body with a stay dry top layer, and super discreet. Our waterproof material is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, and our pads are Oeko-Tex Class II certified, so no nasties near your body. 

 


Nappy Gurus

Nappy Gurus products


15% off all pads, period underwear and cups, excluding kits. Single use.

The Nappy Gurus are here to support you to make changes to become more sustainable. All of our products are tried and tested by our team of Gurus and we even offer personalised cloth sanitary product advice to guide you on your eco journey.

 


WUKA

WUKA Product 

15% off all products, excluding sale items

Founded in 2017, WUKA is a female-led start up, making the UK’s first ever reusable and leak-proof period wear. WUKA stands for Wake Up Kick Ass because we believe that nothing should hold you back on your period.

We believe that periods should not cost the earth. Equality, social and environmental responsibility are at the heart of everything we do.

 

 
 
 
 
 

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