Menstrual waste is a bloody crisis. There’s no point sugar-coating that fact. The average woman is said to use over 11,000 pads and tampons in a lifetime, most of them ending up in landfills. According to National Geographic, the U.S. consumed 5.8 billion tampons in 2018. It’s a shocking mound of pollution that is increasingly burdening our poor planet.
A regular pad consists of plastic layers to soak up menstrual fluid, lined with a leak-proof base, covered individually in plastic wrapping, and further packaged in plastic to house a dozen of them. Tampons are much the same. It takes 500 years for a synthetic pad to break down in soil and even longer in oceans. In fact, it’s the fifth most-found pollutant in our oceans.
My mother dearest has always been an anti-fan of tampons due to the fact that we’re shoving a toxin-rich synthetic thing into our bodies. I’ve also found that it’s invasive in nature and increases cramps significantly. So even though pads felt like I was wearing a sticky plastic nappy, that was the option I went for since I got my period 17 years ago.
In recent years, there’s been an influx of eco-conscious companies creating all sorts of sanitary products to reduce the plastic load on the Earth. This ranged from organic cotton tampons, biodegradable bamboo pads, menstrual cups until finally, menstrual underwear.
There’s quite a few brands that sell period underwear but the reviews have been mixed. Most problems seem to have involved leaking which seems like a bloody nightmare to deal with. This is where Vitals completely changed the way I flow and it makes me so happy to know that I don’t contribute to period pollution anymore.
They’re comprised of 4 layers to absorb and retain up to 3-4 tampons worth of flow. The leak-proof seams are what makes them such an unbelievably incredible product compared to their competitors. It locks everything in and the gusset goes right up to the seam at the back so you can wear them during heavy flow days and also overnight! They can also be used for light incontinence.
The inner cotton layer keeps your skin dry, and there are three more layers made of breathable Eco PU and bamboo to keep it leak proof and super comfortable. Plus, they’re all made from plant-based materials without any toxic carcinogenic materials to avoid the risk of TSS.
I found them quite easy to use too – give them a good rinse and chuck them in the wash. What I like to do is take them into the shower to rinse out the menstrual fluid and wash them with gentle hand soap to make them last longer. Because they’re such high quality garments, they’re meant to last you at least a solid couple of years!
Some women do seem to have a hard time getting their heads around the concept of period underwear. But the positive impact it can make on our planet is huge from a CO2 production perspective as well as in waste and ocean pollution. That alone is definitely worth giving them a go and making the effort to change your habits.
Plus, Vitals is a conscious business so they offset their non-biodegradable waste by recycling three times the volume of their entire operational waste in climate-vulnerable places.
You can buy Vitals period underwear from here.