While the major brands of feminine hygiene products continue to have to justify the composition of their towels and tampons, more and more intimate organic hygiene products or low footprint are emerging. Cups, washable towels, menstrual underwear ... A short overview of eco-friendly alternatives to traditional tampons.
Until about ten years ago, menstruating women had little choice over the personal hygiene products at their disposal. Whether they buy them in supermarkets or pharmacy, almost all were from the same major industrial groups, which still maintain opacity around their manufacture and their components, sometimes even with the approval of health authorities.
But in recent years, women have more choices in their intimate protections. Whether it's menstrual cups, washable pads or organic cotton pads, all are more environmentally friendly.
Buffers, a considerable ecological impact
And that's good, because traditional tampons are not good for our planet. On average, a woman uses 11,000 tampons during her lifetime. In terms of pollution, they have a considerable impact: according to a classification of plastic waste established in 2016 by the NGO Surfrider, tampon applicators are among the ten plastic waste most frequently present in the oceans. Towels also have an ecological footprint. According to the book Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation, (Flux: the cultural history of menstruation), a woman throws on average in the trash, and in her life, between 100 and 150 kg of "towels, tampons and applicators".
If women are turning more and more to these alternative intimate hygiene products, it is also because they are more respectful of women's health. At a time when the major brands of feminine hygiene products have to stop justifying themselves on the composition of their products and are regularly implicated in the cases of syndrome of the toxic shock, these new protections appear as safer for whom wants to take care of her intimate health while limiting her ecological footprint.
The menstrual cup
The menstrual cup is a reusable hygienic protection. Resembling a small silicone funnel, it is positioned in the vagina to collect the menstrual flow. Ecological and economical - it keeps for years - the menstrual cup also has the advantage of not drying up the vaginal flora.
Be careful not to keep it too long. It must be emptied every 8 hours maximum and be washed carefully before being reinserted. As for tampons, the cup does not protect against toxic shock syndrome.
There are many brands of menstrual cups: Naturcup, Claricup, Miu, So'Cup, Divacup, Mooncup, Ladycup, Meluna, In My Panties ...
Less ecological than menstrual cups, organic tampons have the great advantage of clearly displaying their composition. Without toxic products, those marketed in France are generally organic cotton certified by the independent label GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).
Like traditional buffers, they need to be changed every 4 to 8 hours depending on the flow. It is also not recommended to wear them at night.
Several French brands offer organic stamps for sale. This is the case of In My Panties, My Holy, Natracare or Jho.
Washable sanitary napkins
Often made from organic cotton in flashy prints, washable sanitary napkins are also eco-friendly: just pass them to the washing machine after use. Soft and breathable, they are recommended for those who suffer from irritation.
The brands Plim and In My Panties offer washable sanitary napkins. Their different sizes and shapes adapt to all morphologies and all flows.
Still new in French brands, menstrual panties are already well known in the United States or Australia, as brands like Thinx and Modibodi market them. The principle of these special menstruations panties? These are undergarments that absorb blood without staining or escaping and wash themselves in the washing machine. Again, no waste polluting the oceans.